Indonesia's latest campaign to lure tourists got off to a rocky start after embarrassed officials acknowledged that a key slogan was ungrammatical and ordered it corrected.
"Visit Indonesia 2008. Celebrating 100 Years of Nation's Awakening" has been printed on billboards, government Web sites and emblazoned on the sides of aircraft belonging to the national carrier, Garuda.
To be grammatical, the phrase "Nation's Awakening" should be made specific, for example by preceding it with the definite article 'the' or the possessive pronoun 'our.' Another option would be to replace "nation" with the adjective "national."
"Our colleagues tried their best not to be reckless in creating the slogan, I'm sure," said Thamrin Bachri, director general for marketing at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. "But we have been advised by several people to change the slogan."
The 1908 event referred to in the campaign is the founding of Indonesia's first nationalist group, a development hailed here as a key step in the country's eventual independence from Dutch rule in 1945.
Many people have questioned the wisdom of referring to the anniversary at all, given that few people outside the country have ever heard of it and would unlikely be interested in attending events to mark it.
"Just delete the subtitle, tourists won't understand it anyway. Even Indonesians don't understand it," said a comment posted on one unofficial local tourism Web site.
Bachri said the phrase would be changed to "celebrating 100 years of national awakening."
The ministry has spent around $96,000 for the campaign, he said, adding, however, that the consulting firm handling the case had agreed to correct the slogan without additional charge.
Indonesia drew about 5 million tourists last year, most to its resort island of Bali.
Neighboring Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia each attract many more, thanks in part to slick advertising campaigns as well as better tourist infrastructure.