Visiting Indonesia and Turkey in Trafalgar Square

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Hello Indonesia

Hello Indonesia

Everyone knows this London square perhaps because of Nelson’s column, the lions, the fourth plinth resplendent these days with a blue cockerel or because of the Monopoly board game.

It has been included in songs, pigeons congregate there in seemingly hundreds as do tourists who sometimes feed them (despite the ban) or just go to sit down for a while. It has been a London focal point for close on 170 years. Tourists come to it to New Years’ Eve, it was where a large VE celebration was held in May 1945 and, since 2006, Canada has celebrated its’ annual day there on July 1st with stalls, music and fun.

Other countries have copied the Canadian idea and, today, Trafalgar Square has another role. Because tourists flock – like the pigeons – to it, countries and destinations use it to promote their country. This is an effective way or getting to thousands of people but in a promotion that seems more fun than hard sell.

brochures on Indonesia were popular - which is what was intended!

brochures on Indonesia were popular – which is what was intended!

Last Saturday it was the turn of Indonesia to take over the square and, I was told, the choice of day was deliberate. Not because it was Indonesia’s national day or an anniversary of some celebration but because that day was also the day when one of the rehearsals for the annual Trooping of the Colour was held over in Horse Guards Parade. It meant that there were many more tourists in the area so Indonesia’s “Hello Indonesia” campaign attracted more people. By mid-afternoon, some 12, 500 people had visited the stands, listened to the music and enjoyed the food. By the end of the day they were hoping for 20,000 people.

Yesterday it was the turn of Turkey to take over the square to celebrate Turkish Day and to remind those living in London (estimates say about 350,000)   of their heritage. There was more music, more singing, more food and dancing and more promotions for Turkey.

But not everyone lives or can get to London. As this idea of destination promotion has proved so successful with us why not go regional with the idea and look to Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham, Belfast, Leeds, Bristol and other places where  large squares could be used for similar events?

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