Magelang (ANTARA) - A group of cyclists from Yogyakarta ecstatically entered the Borobudur Temple Tourism Park area in Magelang District, Central Java, after having successfully pedaled their bicycles for some 93 kilometers to reach the finish line.

Some 100 cyclists from Qatar and Indonesia participated in the CultuRide from Vredeburg Fort in Yogyakarta to Borobudur Temple on Wednesday (June 7) in the "Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture" series.

While guiding the bicycles, those who crossed the finish line then received medal necklaces handed out by the Qatari and Indonesian officials.

Apart from cycling, participants of the CultuRide were also entertained with a Jogja Istimewa dance performance at the start line and the Topeng Ireng dance performance at the finish line.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia commended the enthusiasm of the cyclists, both from Qatar and Indonesia, as well as the committee's breakthroughs and hard work included in the Years of Culture.

The event is the start of an important momentum in fostering deeper cooperation between Qatar and Indonesia and should always be developed in other more concrete forms of cooperation, not only in terms of culture but also in tourism, trade, and investment.

The cooperation with Qatar has, in fact, been ongoing since long, including with several Qatar National Bank projects, and currently, they are also developing a resort in Labuan Bajo.

Qatar is a country, with huge potential for cooperation in the future, considering the existing potential and also at the people-to-people level, in the context of Qatar-Indonesia flights and the close relations that have existed until now. Hence, it only needs to be developed in future and be able to provide myriad opportunities.

This is a good momentum for future development, as it is directly related to an important aspect, which is cultural relations.

The Indonesian embassy in Doha also plays an important role, as it is the one that opens access and provides information related to the parameters required in the cooperation.

Several steps can be taken together, but so far, Indonesia's focus has been on tourism, trade, and investment.

The culture here is not only limited to art, dance, and so on. Culture is a form of the way of life that has been developed and built through various forms collaboration, for instance, in the fields of economy, trade, investment, politics, and defense.

Hence, culture is the entry point, as it is a soft power, something that is more familiar to everyone, especially in building mutual understanding between people, and this will be more effective, as it continues to develop among people, both from Indonesia and Qatar.

Sound relationship among members in the community is also a big capital at the government level to drive further cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, economy, and so on.

For future development, including for Ubud Writers, a cafe festival, culinary journey, and photography journey will be organized. In addition, cooperation is being developed in the field of libraries, access to books, and literacy, as the Qatar National Library has vast potential.

The library has access to various world literature that is considered important, and it is also important for Indonesian people to develop an interest in reading and understanding cultural cooperation and not only be from a cultural aspect in a narrow sense.

It is also useful to improve lifestyles and opportunities in society in addition to how to view Qatar, as a country in the Middle East, since for a long time, the Middle East has always been viewed as a hotbed for conflicts and so on.

This can serve as a window to see that potential opportunities, in fact, exist for cooperation and also a sense of friendship and closeness. Most importantly, various forms of cooperation had been forged in the past and confirmed in future collaborations, so it becomes one of the windows to see the other side of the Middle East area.

Qatar represents a group of countries looking to move away from being solely prosperous due to the fossil energy factor though it envisions to become a country that develops human resources and then become a country that oversees the manufacturing industry, green energy, tourism, and also the service industry to understand that it is small yet effective.It is keen to present a more positive picture of the region, and this should be welcomed.

Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia that was chosen as Qatar's partner for the holding of the Years of Culture event. This means that Indonesia is considered as an entry point for Middle Eastern countries, especially Qatar, to understand countries in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia.

Not many people understand Southeast Asia, regarding aspects about Asia and Indonesia, with the capital of being a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, and it so far being known as a tolerant nation.

From the perspective of culture and economy, they will see several opportunities for cooperation. Indonesia does not only highlight traditional relations but opportunities also exist for cooperation in education, tourism, culinary arts, and other areas.

Hence, it is also necessary to explore Indonesia's potential in culinary arts, tourism, and culture. At the same time, foreigners sometimes do not know that Indonesia has this potential, especially for countries in the Middle East.

Many members of the Indonesian diaspora work in Qatar, such as in oil companies, airlines, and international companies. This fact also becomes Indonesia's huge potential and becomes an important partner for Qatar.

Qatar is keen to build close relations with Indonesia, and it views that there is definitely potential, and on this occasion, is trying to look further.

Year of Culture

The Government of Qatar conveyed that the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture series began in April 2023 with the Qatari Night, which is breaking fast in Qatari style. At the time, a Qatari chef came to Indonesia to prepare special Qatari food for breaking the fast.

Thereafter, the CultuRide was held, with around 100 cyclists from both countries. They were enthralled to see the varied cultures that can be explored, especially from Qatar.

From this event, several events had been prepared in the Year of Culture, not only in Indonesia but also in Qatar.

Currently, there is also an event in Pontianak through which youngsters from Qatar and Indonesia exchange knowledge and other information. Moreover, a culinary trip was held that presented two chefs from Qatar and two chefs from Indonesia. They will conduct activities in three cities: Medan in North Sumatra, Ubud in Bali, and Papua.

The activity continues with an important event, which is a journey of photography. This activity is held in Indonesia and Qatar, wherein each photographer from these two countries will attempt to capture what is unique.

Of course, there will be a special theme, with threads running through between Indonesia and Qatar. Moreover, a writer's festival and various other activities have been prepared until the end of the year in Indonesia and Qatar.

General Manager of the Borobudur Unit Jamaludin Mawardi stated that coincidentally, in 2023, the Government of Qatar is holding the Qatar Year of Culture. Indonesia is one of the partners chosen by Qatar to disseminate information this year about Qatari culture.

One of the activities conducted aims to introduce Indonesia's tourism potential to Qatar.

Through the CultuRide activity, which is cycling from Yogyakarta to Borobudur, involving several participants from Qatar and Indonesia and by opening up the Qatari media to cover it, a positive side can also indirectly be gained by the Borobudur tourism object.

From the country's point of view, the activities will certainly have a positive impact on the promotion of Indonesian tourism in Qatar.

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Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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