Creativity and Tourism: Four Creative Cities in Indonesia

Isabella Fitria Andjanie*1, Heru Purboyo H. Putro2

1 Master of Tourim Planning Institute of Technology Bandung, Jl. Ganesa No.10, Lb. Siliwangi, Kecamatan Coblong, Kota Bandung, 40132 Jawa Barat, Indonesia

2 School of Architecture, Planning & Policy Development Institute of Technology Bandung,

Bandung, Indonesia, Jl. Ganesa No.10, Lb. Siliwangi, Kecamatan Coblong, Kota Bandung, 40132 Jawa Barat, Indonesia

* Corresponding Author’s Email:;


As the global tourism sector continues to evolve, various regions are competing to attract tourists through different development strategies. Some regions aim to stand out by emphasizing their uniqueness and offering something distinct to visitors, while others attempt to replicate or adapt successful tourism models from other destinations. This study aims to examine the significance of creativity in tourism and the essential creative tools in tourism development strategies. To achieve this, a descriptive qualitative method with a content analysis approach is utilized, drawing on literature and online articles to identify best practices in developing tourism destinations with a focus on creativity. Additionally, several case studies of UNESCO creative cities in Indonesia, including Pekalongan, Ambon, Bandung, and Jakarta, are explored to analyze the key aspects of creative programming strategies in both rural and urban settings. The research findings highlight the importance of collaboration between the government and local communities to ensure the alignment of creative programs with tourism development strategies. It is also suggested to adopt strategies that enhance creativity and tourism by integrating available resources, cultural meanings, and local characteristics of each region. The creative cities in Indonesia serve as exemplary models for other regions to follow in implementing effective placemaking formulas for tourism destinations.

Keywords: Creativity; Creative City; Development Strategy; Tourism


Creativity, derived from the word "to create," refers to the capacity to generate something novel and valuable. It encompasses both intangible forms, such as ideas, theories, culture, music, and comedy, as well as tangible expressions, such as inventions, innovations, artwork, and paintings. Creativity can manifest in various dimensions, including everyday activities, artistic endeavors, and intellectual pursuits (Tan, Kung & Luh, 2013). Creativity was initially associated with creative individuals and their products, but now there is a shift towards recognizing the importance of creative social and environmental contexts (Richards, 2011). The perception of creativity has evolved from considering it as an individual's mental process to recognizing its occurrence within a social context (Simonton, 2000).

Creativity often serves as a catalyst for change, regeneration, and renewal. The concept of creative cities has emerged as cities globally compete and strive to differentiate themselves in the tourism market by fostering a culture of creativity (Richards, 2014). Several regions are looking for effective ways to make their regions different in the global economy by relying on the creative industry (Turok, 2009). Then, apart from competition between big cities in the tourism sector, creative cities also emerge as a response and strategy for solving problems and facing other challenges such as the economic crisis, demographic growth, and environmental and social problems.

The establishment of the Creative Cities Network (UCCN) by UNESCO serves as a validation of the significance of creative cities. UCCN, established in 2004, aims to foster collaboration among cities that have recognized the role of creativity in driving sustainable urban development. These cities have strategically utilized creativity as a key factor in their efforts to create vibrant and resilient urban environments. UNESCO divides several creative fields into the creative city network: literacy, design, crafts and arts, film, music, media arts, and gastronomy. Approximately 300 cities across the globe have become part of this network, demonstrating their commitment to prioritizing creativity and the cultural industry in their national development plans. These cities actively engage in international cooperation, working together to promote creativity and foster sustainable urban development on a global scale. It is also important to note that through UCCN, UNESCO can more easily encourage cities to create strategies to reach sustainable development through culture and creativity (Gathen, Skoglund & Laven, 2020).

Cultural tourism encompasses aspects of creativity and contemporary culture. According to UNWTO research, 81% of National Tourism Administrations recognize the inclusion of "contemporary culture and creativity" in cultural tourism, including film, art, fashion, design, music, and more (World Tourism Organization, 2018). There is a strong link between tourism and creativity, as both sectors mutually benefit from each other. The tourism industry benefits from the added value created by creativity, while the creative economy benefits from the continuous growth of tourism activity (Richards & Wilson, 2006). Furthermore, tourism also has an important role in awakening creative cities in the creative industry, tourists are attracted by what planners and creative workers create, and vice versa, the presence of tourists also helps support the sustainability of creative workers in the region.

Creativity has emerged as a prominent concern on the urban agenda as cities have evolved and transformed over time. Cultural events in urban areas have undergone a gradual evolution, starting with rituals that symbolize power, transitioning to the bourgeois culture associated with industrial cities, and eventually transforming into a postmodern blend of public and commercial cultures (Richards, 2014). According to Sacco, there has been a shift and regeneration from the 'Culture 1.0' phase, characterized by bourgeois culture, towards 'Culture 2.0'. In this phase, cultural and creative activities hold economic value, generate profits, and represent specific sectors of the urban economy. This transition leads to the emergence of the 'Culture 3.0' phase, marked by competition in creative and cultural activities (Sacco, 2011).

Increased competition in the global sector tourism makes big cities compete to attract visitors with various development strategies. Many areas differentiate themselves by highlighting their uniqueness and presenting something unique from the region, either through experience or a product. In contrast, others try to follow or modify the formula and model of success stories from another region. This study intends to identify the role of creativity in tourism and the important elements that need to be considered in making a creative program for a tourism development strategy. Does following creative development models from successful regions really prove effective? And what are the main features that are important to consider, especially in developing a creative program in Indonesia, as tourism villages and creative cities are rapidly growing and being stimulated in this country?

Research Methodology

This research employs a descriptive qualitative method with a content analysis approach based on literature and online articles. The objective is to identify best practices in developing tourism destinations by exploring the role of creativity. The research begins with a thorough literature review to gain insights into the diverse interpretations and perspectives of various authors regarding creativity in the context of tourism. Academic papers and online articles focusing on creativity and tourism, utilizing keywords such as 'creativity,' 'tourism,' and 'creative city,' are meticulously examined to deepen the understanding of creative forms and tools within the tourism domain.

Because there are no definite indicators to measure tourism development in creative cities, and human creativity and innovation cannot be simplified to a numbered scale of performance benchmarking, a qualitative method such as analyzing the creative programming strategy of tourism destinations in different countries (Richards, 2020) is adopted to analyze and identify the main features of the creative programming strategy in Indonesia's tourism destinations. UNESCO creative cities in Indonesia, such as Pekalongan, Ambon, Bandung, and Jakarta, are selected as case studies. The validation given by UNESCO to the four creative cities can be used as a standard of values in creative city tourism that are recognized globally. Following this, from the study findings, several essential recommendations for developing tourist destinations with creative programs, especially in Indonesia, can be specified.

Literature Review

Richards and Wilson have conceptualized the connection between creativity and tourism, introducing the notions of "creative space," "creative spectacles," and "creative tourism" (Richards & Wilson, 2006). These concepts highlight the intersection of creativity and tourism, emphasizing the creation of unique environments, extraordinary experiences, and innovative approaches within the tourism industry. A creative space is where producers and creatives collaborate to provide an environment for tourism consumption (Richards, 2020). Creative spectacles include architecture and festivals/events, while creative tourism has expanded to include informal learning and a broader range of experiences (Richards & Wilson, 2006).

Meanwhile creative tools that are usually used in tourism development strategy such as:

  1. Creative Image and Place Branding, Place branding has been recognized as an effective means of achieving a competitive advantage that enables a city to attract investment and tourists, as well as strengthen local identity and citizen identification with their city (Castillo- Villar, 2016; Setianti, Dida & Putri, 2018). The city metaphorically has the advantage of displaying its visual characteristics to tourists and residents. Its image is shaped by the city's characteristics, such as its monumental and popular buildings, geography, culture, and historical values (Mohamad et al., 2022). A city without a theme is bound to be unremarkable and will essentially be more of a commodity-like, bland space than a lively and interesting place to live and visit (Okano & Samson, 2010).

  2. Creative festivals and events serve as platforms that enhance the spatial and temporal expression of creativity (Richards, 2011). Apart from that, festivals and events can be a meeting place between people from diverse creative networks and stimulate the exchange of new ideas, thus leading to a knowledgeable generation (de Geus, Richards and Toepoel; Podesta and Richards, in Li & Kovacs, 2021).

  3. Creative Architecture, Creative architecture includes vernacular, heritage, modern buildings, monuments, and landscapes with natural elements. Identical creative architectural buildings with tourism include urban icons and landmarks. Urban icons and city landmarks have been considered important elements in urban regeneration strategy and city branding, especially in transforming city image (Evans, 2009; Castillo-Villar, 2016).

  4. Everyday creativity / Everyday life activity, An example of everyday creativity is gastronomic tourism, which offers traditional food, culinary festivals, and cooking workshops and encourages sustainable food practices (Gathen, Skoglund & Laven, 2020). Besides that, there are also creative tours for making ceramics/pottery, furniture, making workshops oil essential oils and other handicrafts, which are manifestations of the creativity of locals in their daily activities (Maitland, 2010; Tan, Kung & Luh, 2013).

The incorporation of creative forms and tools in tourism has become a significant attraction for tourists and an economic catalyst in many regions. This phenomenon also stimulates the creativity of the local community, contributing to the development of creative cities that attract visitors. Landry initially introduced the concept of the creative city paradigm, which emphasizes the role of government in fostering creative activities and providing a platform for individuals to freely express new ideas and thoughts, ultimately creating a livable urban environment (Paramita, 2010; Prayudi, Probosari & Ardhanariswari, 2017). To ensure equal opportunities for all individuals, creative development should encompass the entire city, according to Landry (2006). Richard further suggests that a bottom-up approach is necessary for developing a creative city that benefits the lower middle class. Several countries, including Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brisbane, Helsinki, Thailand, and Turin, have implemented creative city policies, as highlighted by Richards (2014).

Vickery argues that a significant issue with the creative city strategy is the lack of comprehensive city-wide involvement. Through a survey of various books on creative city strategies, Vickery found that instead of success stories, numerous urban problems have arisen. These include issues such as gentrification, property-oriented development, social class segregation, and displacement of lower-income communities in the suburbs (Vickery in Richards, 2014). It proves that developing creative city prototypes that policymakers even strategically regulate in cities is not necessarily effective in achieving success. In contrast with what was conveyed by Vickery, Belloso tells the success story of the city branding of Barcelona. Belloso argues that the key success factors in branding the city of Barcelona include a comprehensive and sustainable city transformation process, the vision and leadership of the city leaders, the involvement and participation of civil society, the important role played by the Olympics in 1992, the uniqueness of Barcelona, creativity, and innovation (Belloso, 2011). Furthermore, there are three key elements that should be considered as parameters in the development of a creative city (Prayudi, Probosari & Ardhanariswari, 2017):

  1. The preservation and development of creative economy potentials, including products with commercial value and intellectual property (Howkins, 2002).

  2. The nurturing of a creative class, comprising individuals or groups who actively contribute creative solutions to address the challenges faced in urban living (Florida, 2003).

  3. The planning and establishment of a creative environment that enables society to engage in their creative activities optimally (Landry, 2006).

Results and Discussion

Richards conducts research to identify the evolving relationship between tourism and creativity by examining the role of creative tourism in creating creative places and taking four different places to represent different geographic scales of regions, namely Thailand (a rural area), Den Bosch (a small city in the Netherlands), Recife (a big city in Brazil), and Nordrhein-Westfalen (Creative urban area in Germany). It identifies successful strategies for creative development by combining insights from creative tourism with various design strategies and governance mechanisms. The findings from this research are presented in the following table:

Table 1: Findings in Case Studies of Four Regions by Richards

City name and context

Grass roots element

Branding concept

Creative Injection in Tourism

Stakeholders involved

Tourism Positive impact


Rural Area

Village / Local’s everyday activities

the first creative tourism destination in Asia Discover the Other You

Creative tourism experiences for in rural

villages such

as local

culinary cooking classes


(Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administratio n), TAT

(Tourism Authority of Thailand, local facilitators, community- based organizations

, researchers

Gender equality (women's participation & productivity >50%) Sustaining the younger generation in the village with new business opportunities. stimulate agriculture and

local food


reduce economic leakage

Den Bosch

Small City

Hieronym us Bosch birthplace (famous medieval- era painter)

Knowledge hub of

medieval art

Events for commemoratin g the 500th anniversary of Bosch's death in 2016 such as cooking competitions, parades and

floating art exhibitions

The Bosch Research and Renovation Project , 'Guardian' media, Den Bosch residents and tourists

Stimulating tourist visits , bringing people together and building social

cohesion and

attracting large numbers of tourists put Den Bosch on the global map


Big City

Freyo dance

Recife Capital of Creativity

Recife Playtown programm / playable city Smart city concept through city installations, workshops and carnival

Porto Digital (Digital Port)


(e Brazilian National Network of Creative Tourism) local residents

adding a new layer of meaning to the city's existing infrastructure

using technology to open new ways in experiencing culture for all

North Rhine-

Design and

#Urbanana a

Events of music, fashion

European Union,

creative communities

Westphalia Conurbation s

communit y

destination for the

urban lifestyle and scene

and literature

creative community and tourists

generate networks of ideas that are transferred from person to person make extensive use of the creative industry

Source: modified from (Richards, 2020)

The findings highlight that the effectiveness of strategies to enhance creativity in a given place is influenced by its spatial, economic, and cultural context (Richards, 2020). Consequently, the transfer of creative development models from one region to another, such as the concept of a creative city or creative class, often proves ineffective. In light of this, Richards proposes a more adaptable and flexible model of creative placemaking that can be customized to suit local spaces while still connecting to the global context.

Figure 1: Basic Principles in Creating Creative Place


Source: (Richards, 2020)

The creativity referred to in the chart above is collective relational creativity to improve the quality of life, which includes vision, governance, workshops, prototyping, and collaboration in creation (Montuori, 2011). Meanwhile, the resources are a network that connects flow and place to make full use of tangible and intangible cultural resources (Sacco and Blessi in Richards, 2020). Meanings are storytelling, narration, and curation to integrate people, events, and locus (Harrison dan Tatar in Richards, 2020). These three elements have regional or local characteristics. Besides being formed by these three programming elements, another similarity found in the four case study areas is that creativity is present to solve problems and attract the active involvement of local communities and tourists, as well as the regulator's and other stakeholders' support.

Table 2: Main Features in Different Cases of Creative Place


Source: (Richards, 2020)

The comparative case study demonstrates a shift in design strategies as the geographic scale expands, with a transition from embedded creative resources in rural areas to more abstract and dynamic forms of creativity in urban areas. The focus on creative skills in villages, rooted in local forms of creativity, is gradually being replaced by an emphasis on creative knowledge influenced by cosmopolitan forms in urban environments (Richards, 2020)

Indonesia manifests creativity in the governance context through the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (Kemenparekraf) (Chan, Alexandri & Tresna, 2019). However, of more than 300 cities in the world listed as creative cities by UCCN, four are Indonesia’s city representatives, such as Pekalongan, Bandung, Jakarta, and Ambon. In this part, the four UNESCO creative cities will be analyzed by adopting Richard’s method in identifying creativity, resources, and meanings in programming their strategy as a creative city. This section also aims to assess whether this creative placemaking formula can be applied to the development strategies of tourism destinations in other regions of Indonesia.

  1. Pekalongan: Craft and Folk Art

    Batik design and production play a significant role in shaping Pekalongan's identity and are deeply connected to art, culture, and the local economy. Pekalongan has integrated batik into its creative economy development plans and educational system, solidifying its position as the World City of Batik and becoming the first Indonesian city to be registered in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in 2014 for its craft and folk-art industry (Paramita, 2010). The city has implemented various programs to prioritize batik, including the establishment of batik museums and workshops, the preservation of batik craft villages as both producers and tourist destinations, and the organization of annual exhibitions, parades, and events in collaboration with academic institutions, government entities, and civil society stakeholders in the batik industry. Similar to Thailand's rural tourism scheme, Pekalongan is also able to bring gender equality through women's participation and productivity in city culture-based development.

    Figure 2: The Annual Jagad Pekalongan Carnival 2022


    Source: (Public Communication Team, 2022)

    Figure 3: Pekalongan, World’s City of Batik Landmark


    Source: (DPMPTSP Pekalongan City, 2021)

    Figure 4: Batik Museum in Pekalongan


    Source: (Pekalongan Batik Museum, 2015)

    The Pekalongan City Government has actively implemented the concept of a creative city, from policy development to program implementation (Nugroho et al., 2022). One notable example is the provision of public facilities and infrastructure that support the city's creative initiatives, particularly in fostering the batik craft industry and promoting the city's branding. Many of these facilities are independently procured by the batik craft communities and are situated in urban kampong neighborhoods, creating an organic and immersive tourism experience that showcases everyday activities.

  2. Bandung: Design

    In 2015, Bandung was recognized by UNESCO as a creative city in the field of design. Design-related activities account for 56% of the city's economic endeavors, with subsectors such as architecture, fashion, graphic design, and digital media playing prominent roles in the local creative economy (UCCN, 2004). Bandung has emerged as a thriving center for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship, driven by the initiatives of its youth, who organize workshops, conferences, and festivals. The city's vibrant cultural industries have been fostered by its highly educated young population, the presence of fashionable products, and a flourishing tourism sector.

    Bandung has undertaken several initiatives to manifest its vision as a creative city in the field of design. These efforts include the establishment of thematic public parks that serve as spaces for various art forms and showcase the diversity of urban culture. The city also actively collaborates with other creative city networks through creative festivals, joint events, and workshops. For example, Bandung organizes the annual Asia-Africa Carnival, fostering collaboration and cultural exchange. Additionally, creative centers have been established, and support is provided to new creative entrepreneurs, all aimed at enhancing the local creative economy.

    Figure 5: The Annual Asia-Africa Carnival


    Source: (Dipa, 2018)

    Figure 6: Movie Park under the bridge


    Source: (SHAU in Tunas, et al., 2019)

    Figure 7: Bandung Creative Hub


    Source: (Habibi, 2019)

    The implementation of design thinking strategies plays a crucial role in addressing and evaluating various urban issues and formulating new policies that promote creative processes and solutions. This approach acknowledges the significant influence of design on the overall development of the city (Cities of Design Network, 2021). For instance, Bandung provides the Creative Hub as a facility to develop, educate, and advance creative communities in the creative industry sector. On top of that, Bandung managed to turn the slum areas into public or communal parks with productive activities and creative programs that are accessible to both tourists and locals, such as a movie park and the Cikapundung river spot. That creative design application also attracts tourists and creative classes at the same time.

  3. Ambon: Music

    In 2019, Ambon became a part of the UNESCO music creative city network. Music holds a significant place in the city's culture, with nearly 90% of the population participating in choirs and receiving training from an early age. Music not only contributes to the growth of the tourism sector but also serves as a major driver of economic development, generating over US$700,000 annually for the local economy (UCCN, 2004). The city's strong musical tradition has fostered a deep connection between the residents and music, forming an inseparable bond. Ambon's music culture and ecosystem thrive despite the limited infrastructure within the city, a key consideration for UNESCO in recognizing Ambon as a member of the UCCN (Ratnasari, 2022). The city hosts national and international-scale events like The Indonesia Music Conference, the National Music Symposium, and the Amboina International Music Convention, which not only showcase and celebrate music but also provide opportunities for musicians and music communities to collaborate, share ideas, and preserve local traditions (Ratnasari, 2022).

    Figure 8: Amboina International Bamboo Music Festival


    Source: (Hidayati, 2018)

    Figure 9: Ambon City Of Music Landmark


    Source: (Latest Moluccas, 2020)

    Figure 10: Orchestra Performance in Music-Based Tourism Village


    Source: (Anggoro, 2022)

    Music also influences the establishment of regional regulations and policies, which aim to maintain Ambon City's title as the City of Music and the ranks of the world's creative cities. The Government and Ambon Music Office (AMO) collaborate to strengthen the five main pillars of Ambon's development as a music city destination, such as increasing human resources in music, music instructors, recording studios, music schools, and the socio-cultural values of music. In addition, AMO is developing a scheme for preserving the environment and music culture through the Sound of Green program to organize music-based tourism villages, music education curricula, Music for Healing, sister cities with other UNESCO music cities, as well as extensive networks and partnerships. To take better control over the policy direction and enjoy the result of inclusive growth, AMO advocates for a less Java- centric approach and calls for a long-term music tourism strategy blueprint to streamline developmental focus across government agencies, attract public-private investment, and synergize resources across the community of practitioners and academics (Feming, 2021).

  4. Jakarta: Literature

Indonesia has the most productive publishing industry in Southeast Asia, according to the International Publishers Association and Jakarta has been at the center of Indonesia's literary scene. In 2020, 60% of Indonesian publishers will be based in Jakarta, while the city also contributes 25% of the country's digital collection (UCCN, 2004). Along with the designation of Jakarta as a city of world literature in 2021 by UNESCO, DKI Jakarta Province has a vision of collaboration and creation by involving citizens from all walks of life. Jakarta is expected to become City 4.0, where the government acts as a platform provider and citizens as co-creators. Moving away from City 3.0, where the government is the facilitator and the citizens are the supporters, the city of Jakarta is expected to create a culture of sharing ideas and a mutually supportive ecosystem between the government and its citizens (JakGo, 2021).

The designation of Jakarta as the City of Literature was followed by some programs related to literacy. The program raises three elements: social, economic, and cultural arts. The three will be realized in four pillars: developing a book community, conducting meetings between book and content industry stakeholders, strengthening literacy culture to face demographic challenges, and strengthening the literary and content ecosystem (Gadhawangi, 2021).

Figure 11: Taman Ismail Marzuki Library


Source: (Tobing, 2022)

Figure 12: MRT Jakarta Provides A Reading Room


Source: (Nasrullah, 2019)

Figure 13: The 33rd International Publishers Association Congress Taking Place in Jakarta


Source: (International Publishers Association (IPA), 2022)

Literature ecosystem projects can be seen in many international events, such as the Jakarta International Literary Festival (JILF), ASEAN Literary Festival (ALF) and the latest International Publisher Congress (International Publishers Association, 2022). The capital city is also home to various literacy communities and literary competitions. In addition, Jakarta also revitalizes some libraries and provides small and mobile libraries around the city to create a literature tourism atmosphere as part of the ecosystem. It includes Taman Ismail Marzuky Library revitalization, Martha Tiahahu Book Park construction, and many reading rooms provided in collaboration with the private sector. Jakarta is also endowed with the Ismail Marzuki Park (TIM) cultural center, which supports artists, cultural thinkers, and their work while providing easy access to culture and a space for the public.

Table 3: Findings in Case Studies of Four UNESCO Creative Cities in Indonesia

City name, context, Enlisted

Creative field in UCCN

Grass roots element

City brandin g

Creative injection in tourism sector

Stakeholders involved

Creative tools in tourism

Pekalongan (small town)


Crafts and folk art

Batik Handcraft

Pekalong an World’s City of Batik

Events such as Jagad Pekalongan Batik Carnivals,Pekalongan Art Festival, Batik workshops held in Batik Museums and Batik Tourism Village

Pekalongan City Govenrment, Private Sectors, Media, Pekalongan Creative City Forum (PCCF)

Place Branding, Everyday activities, Events

Bandung (big city)



Design related economic activities

An emerging creative city


Events such as Asia- Africa Carnivals, annual workshop called Design Action.bdg and Design Biennale, communal & creative space provision such as Bandung creative Hub

Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF), Creative Economy Committee of the Bandung Municipal Government, creative communities

Place Branding, Architectur e and


Ambon (Small town)



Folk music and instrument s

Ambon City of Music

Music tour in 10 priority destination, National and international scale events, such as The Indonesia Music Conference, the National Music Symposium and the Amboina International Music Convention, music-based tourism village.

the Ministry of Education and

Culture, the

Ministry of

Tourism and Creative Economy, BEKRAF, Ambon City Govenrment, Ambon Music

Office (AMO), Academics, and Privat Sectors

Place Branding, Everyday activities, Events

Jakarta (big city)



Productive publishing industry in Southeast Asia

The city of Literatur e

+Jakarta (plus Jakarta)/ The city of collabora tion

International bookfair and event, Literature center revitalisation such as Martha Tiahahu book park & Taman Ismail Marzuki library and cultural center

Jakarta kota buku comitee, Regional government, private sector such as MRT start-up companies

Place Branding, Architectur e and


Source: Authors contribution

Table 4: Main Features In Programming Strategy Of Four UNESCO Creative Cities In Indonesia

Creative city

Preparation phase

Implementation phase




Mobilizing Resources



Pekalongan (Rural tourism)

Authenticity, local crafts

establishment of regional regulations and policies followed by program implementation

Top-down policies implemented with community involvement

Local craft, traditional skills in everyday life, creative industry

Creative and community driven industry and relationship with tradition

place branding, creative events, workshops, village based tourism experience

Ambon (Rural tourism)

Distictive popular culture

Music culture, traditional skills in everyday life,

Community life with relationship in tradition

Bandung (urban tourism)

Design related industies

the government acts as a platform provider to accommodate the industry & to cope with urban issues

Public- private collaboration with involvement of civic groups

Cultural heritage, creative industry, urban atmosphere networks

Creative community and urban

life with relationship with creative industry

place branding, creative events, workshops, communal space/creative place

Jakarta (urban tourism)

Literature history and publishing industries

Source: Authors contribution

In the four creative cities, they use their grassroots elements as inspiration for creative programs, which are then developed by diversifying tourism activities such as various events, workshops, and festivals. It is also important to build city branding with a creative image to attract investment and tourists and strengthen the local identity to achieve a competitive advantage. Additionally, with city branding and joining the creative city networks, the cities gain more national and international attention. Creative institutional existences such as PCCF (Pekalongan), BCCF (Bandung), Jakarta Kota Buku Committee (Jakarta), and AMO (Ambon) play a fundamental role in bridging the gap between government and communities and balancing top-down strategies and bottom-up inputs (Okano & Samson, 2010; Richards, 2020). They are given a specific mission relating to the creative program to focus more on ensuring that the program and tourism activities run according to the target. To develop creativity and tourism, it is important to embrace co-creation, where tourists become active participants as co-producers and co-consumers of experiences. This aligns with the concept of creative tourism, involving workshops, events, festivals, and cultural spaces.

However, what distinguishes rural tourism cities from urban tourism ones is that rural tourism tends to develop creativity in community-based tourism experiences, while urban tourism develops more built facilities as creative spaces. This is in line with what Richards said that cities tend to build a creative atmosphere to attract the creative class (Richards, 2020). In Jakarta and Bandung, the government acts as a platform provider to accommodate the industry and cope with urban issues. In contrast, in Ambon and Pekalongan (smaller-scale of cities), the government tends to be more active by making regulations and facilitating programs with the creative community as the implementer.


To ensure the successful integration of creative programs into tourism development strategies, it is crucial for the government and local communities to collaborate synergistically. Additionally, partnerships with stakeholders such as academia, the private sector, and the media are necessary to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing. This collaboration will stimulate the generation of new ideas and innovative products that add value to the program. Moreover, in creative cities and creative tourism, tourists are no longer passive consumers but active co-creators who actively participate in tourism activities themselves.

Strategies aimed at enhancing creativity and tourism development should incorporate the key elements of resources, meanings, and creativity while taking into account the unique characteristics of the local region. Indonesia's creative cities serve as excellent examples for other regions to emulate when implementing placemaking strategies for tourism destinations.

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interests.


The author is thankful to the institutional authority for completion of the work.


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