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Indonesia Celebrates 9th Ancient Toraja Festival

Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy pledged support to boost tourism beginning in July 2021.

Kharisma Event Nusantara Boost Creative economy Indonesia. Music Press Asia

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The 9th annual Toraja International Festival (TIF), set to celebrate the ancient Torajan traditions, was held in the village of Rante Buntu Pempon, Rantepao, on September 4, 2021.

The singing and dancing of the menfolk Ma’nimbong and womenfolk Ma’dandan was the highlight of the festival. Believed to be a prototype of the modern-world music, the men and women presented an age-old performance that have been performed for thousands of years.

The ancient theatrical form Pepe Pepe Baine performance revealed some of the mesmerizing mysticisms of the indigenous tribe. Today, the Toraja tribal community and their untouched villages would become one of Indonesia’s top tourism outreach parked under its department of Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.

Torajan’s intricate culture in today’s times are still remarkably documented. Its elaborated funeral processions, effigy-filled burial cliffs, and ornate tribal architecture continues to fascinate onlookers.

[A captivating dance represented by Uzbekistan at Toraja Festival in 2015. Courtesy of Toraja Festival.]

The hybrid TIF 2021 aims to, purposefully, offer visitors a rare glimpse into the splendor and mysticism of ancient Toraja. A local tradition originated from South Sulawesi, its popularity to preserve the tradition has significantly boosted the tourism economy. In 2015, TIF saw an increase of 300% domestic and international tourism in north Toraja.

This year’s TIF – held amidst COVID-19 pandemic – returned with plenty of safety measures in place while announcing a virtual program for the public.

“With TIF’s virtual program, the festival can now reach more audience online and allow more people to enjoy the ancient traditions in Tana Toraja,” said Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy.

“Despite the challenges faced, we hope that TIF will continue to be a major component in promoting the rise of the tourism and creative economy in the area.”


“Strategic steps must be taken to elevate the tourism and creative economy sector in order to succeed the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, we apply the new trend for the events focusing on the elements: Localize, Personalize, Customize, and Smaller in Size,”

— Sandiaga Uno, the Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy.


Under the Kharisma Event Nusantara Initiative, TIF 2021 was held with the strict implementation of Covid-19’s CHSE (Cleanliness, Health, Safety, and Environment Sustainability) protocol. Click here to read more about their program to support Indonesia’s tourism and creative economy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Aired on YouTube: TIF’s virtual festival program, aired online on YouTube channel on 12 September 2021, is part of the Lokaswara Project (Indonesia). Watch the show below:

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