Lenny Tristia Tambun
The Jakarta administration is on the defensive over a ranking published recently by CNNGo that lands the Indonesian capital among the world’s “10 most hated cities.”
Jakarta Tourism and Culture Agency head Arie Budhiman said in Jakarta on Monday that the ranking was just an opinion piece written by trip adviser Jordan Rane, and lacked any scientific basis.
“I actually don’t want to comment on this matter. But I want to reaffirm that it was merely an opinion article made by the author. CNNGo never conducted an official study or survey,” Arie said.
“He [Rane] is a CNN contributor, and only lived in Jakarta for six months, and then he commented about Jakarta. Surely his judgment is not equal with the way the world sees Jakarta,” he added.
Arie further said the increasing number of international visitors to Jakarta over the years was proof of Rane’s flawed assessment.
Citing his office’s data, he said the number of foreign tourists visiting Jakarta had risen by 15.8 percent every year for the past five years, although that figure was smaller than the average 34.1 percent annual growth from 2002 to 2007.
Arie also criticized local media that had quoted the CNNGo article without making it clear that the ranking was only a product of the author’s opinion.
“Just because one person commented, it doesn’t mean he represents hundreds of millions of tourists around the world. Read the article carefully; don’t manipulate information.”
According to Rane’s piece, published at cnngo.com on June 11, Jakarta ranks 7th on the list of the world’s most hated cities, after Tijuana (Mexico), Sydney and Melbourne (Australia), Paris, Timbuktu (Mali), Los Angeles and Lima.
Deemed slightly less detestable than the Indonesian capital, New Delhi, Cairo and Belize City rounded out the list.
“Jakarta: great, if frustration is your favorite emotion,” says a caption accompanying the article.
Rane describes Jakarta as a “sprawling city choked with traffic, pollution, poverty and tourist ‘draws’ largely revolving around random street adventures and an epidemic of malls.”