Batu City, East Java (ANTARA) - Traditional marketplaces have long served as economic hubs connecting traders and purchasers though when one looks back around a decade, the people's market was associated with having a nasty and slum-like atmosphere.

At that time, Indonesia's traditional markets, or now known as the people's market, began to transform to dispel the impression of being slum-like and dirty. The government had in place a program to build and revitalize five thousand people's markets in Indonesia during the 2015-2019 period.

Indeed, this figure is not equivalent to the overall number of people's markets in Indonesia reaching tens of thousands. However, every region in Indonesia is increasingly recognizing the importance of the people's market.

Revitalization, or development of the people's market, is not an easy job. Thousands of traders in one market must be able to find a temporary shelter in order to continue their business.

One of the markets that transforms like a Bear fruit is the Among Tani central market in Batu City, East Java. The market, which was inaugurated by President Joko Widodo at the end of 2023, is touted as the largest market in Indonesia.

Batu City's central market, which was established with Rp166 billion (around US$10.6 million) in State Budget (APBN) financing, began operations on October 2, 2023, and is a driving force in the local economy.

The Batu City central market was built on the basis of a three-story concept, with a total area of 3.4 hectares. The first floor has 14,990.62 square meters of wet space, while the second floor has 14,143.63 square meters of dry space.

Meanwhile, the third floor was prepared for a culinary and office space, with an area of 6,032.86 square meters.

The market located on Jalan Dewi Sartika, Temas Village, Batu District, has 1,716 stalls and 914 markets and is able to accommodate 2,630 traders.

The condition of the Among Tani central market is far different from before. Prior to being built in 2021, the market wore a shabby and dirty look even though most people in the city continued to shop for daily necessities.

Currently, the Among Tani central market has a range of good supporting facilities, serving not only as a meeting place for traders and buyers but also as one of Batu City's new tourism landmarks.

New Tourism Potential
The Batu city government sees the existence of the Among Tani central market that has these advantages and plans to make the market as not just a place for traders and buyers to interact.

The market, which has a special area for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the culinary sector, can be an attraction for tourists to visit. Moreover, the market building in the large area stands majestically and becomes the center of attention.

This potential, expressed in the objective of the Regional Original Revenue (PAD), which is anticipated to reach Rp2.2 billion per year (around US$140 thousand), is only derived from the parking charge at the Among Tani central market.

Indeed, the quest for Batu City's Among Tani market to become one of the region's new tourism attractions is not simple. The Among Tani market must be competitive with Batu City's varied tourism options.

So what is the attraction of the market built on 3.4 hectares of land?

Based on ANTARA observations, the superiority of the Among Tani central market is a fairly strategic location and is on the arterial path of Batu Tourism City.
Motorists pass in front of the Among Tani central market, Batu City, East Java, Wednesday (December 20, 2023). (ANTARA/Muhammad Mada/foc)
With that advantage, visitors entering the Batu City area will pass through the market that currently has a tourist charm. This potential must be captured as an opportunity, so that tourists can not only pass by but also make a halt.

Acting Mayor of Batu, Aries Agung Paewai, last week stated that the Batu city government targets the number of tourist visits to increase to 12 million by 2024. This figure is higher than the target of 10 million visits set in 2023.

Several schemes have been prepared, including making the Among Tani central market a new tourist icon of Batu City in a bid to attract tourists and increase the number of visits to Batu City.

With the target set by the Batu city government, all Regional Apparatus Organizations (OPD) must have various programs in place to attract tourists to visit.

The Batu City Cooperative, Industry, and Trade Office is the spearhead in promoting the new icon of Batu City's tourism. Numerous opportunities can be used to attract tourists to visit.

The location of the Among Tani central market, located opposite the Batu City Terminal, also provides its own advantages. Residents traveling and waiting for the bus departure schedule can make the best use of the time lag by visiting the Among Tani central market.

In addition, Batu City, with various artificial and natural tourist destinations and able to attract millions of tourists visiting the region, can be explored by the arriving tourists, who can be directed to the Among Tani central market.

Tourists, traveling aboard huge buses, typically arrive in the Batu City area in the morning. The Batu city government intends to direct buses to halt at the Among Tani central market while tourists await the working hours of their destinations.

Tourists visiting the Among Tani market can enjoy the new atmosphere of a modern people's market as well as shop and sample numerous traditional cuisines.

"This year, we will make a shuttle (transit for tourists). Hence, we will prepare the bathroom and other infrastructure. Thus, all buses will enter the market and later after operating hours, new attractions will spread," Paewai added.

Market Management
With the potential of the Among Tani Market as a new tourist icon in Batu City, good and sustainable market management is deemed necessary, but it does not give up the main function of the existence of the people's market.

The primary purpose of the people's market as an economic vessel should be preserved while it expands and transforms into a premier tourism destination. The management of the people's market through modern management is projected to have a significant impact on Batu City.

The management of Among Tani Central Market, in addition to being a new destination for tourists, also has a role in controlling the prices of important basic necessities for the community. The market is the main door for monitoring the prices of important commodities.

A balance needs to be struck between the role of the people's market as a place to control the price of important basic necessities and the efforts to develop it as one of the new tourist icons in Batu City.

If the two go together, the Among Tani Market, which cost Rp166 billion (US$10.6 million), might boost Batu City's income, tourist visits, and trader sustainability.

Related news: Batu city: Police prepare measures to anticipate surge in visitors
Related news: East Java's Among Tani Central Market biggest in Indonesia: President
Related news: Women are main players in sustainability of SMEs: Minister Masduki

Editor: Azis Kurmala
Copyright © ANTARA 2024