By Anita Beer
The formula has worked in Florida, Hong Kong and Paris.
Now officials in Jakarta, eager to restore investor confidence in the beleaguered financial markets, want to build a “Disneyland for Indonesia”.
The tourism and hospitality minister, told the country’s official news agency, that the government was planning to construct a US$300m (Rp3 trillion) theme park at the site of the uncompleted Hambalang project near Bogor, which has caused the state estimated losses of Rp 463.6 billion so far.
“Besides deflecting public attention away from this damaging scandal and restoring the reputation of the ruling Democrat Party, the development of a “Disneyland for Indonesia" will bring in huge foreign revenues”, said the minister.
“Just look at France, the US and Hong Kong,” the minister said. “They don’t have currency crises do they? And what do they all have in common? Disneyland!”
The minister also outlined elaborate plans for shopping malls, banks and exhibition and entertainment facilities such as karaoke rooms and plus plus spas.
In recent years, shopping malls have been the bedrock of the Indonesian economy and in Jakarta the ratio of people to shopping malls is now about 8 :1.
“We will create a free zone with a banking centre where even people who do not necessarily live in Indonesia will still be able to open bank accounts,” he said.
This growth would be sustainable claimed the minister.
Despite the ambitious scale of the project the minister was confident of finding politicians willing to dress up in funny costumes like Mickey Mouse.
"After all, there are many cartoon characters in Jakarta", he explained.