It seemed absolutely right if the world nicknamed Indonesia as the world’s Second Bio Diversity Country next to Brazil because Indonesia was known to possess abundant natural wealth, flora and fauna which made many regions in Indonesia the main reference eco tourism that attracted domestic and overseas tourism. In addition to that Indonesia also held abundant natural resources and historical remains and rich cultural heritage as magnet to overseas tourists. Bio-conservation experts predicted that Indonesia would be able to edge Brazil aside as wealthiest country in terms of natural resources if they continued scientific research over the untouched regions.
In the effort to identify Indonesia’s natural wealth, the Government since 2002 had been developing eco-tourism which was a concept of tourism which reflected the environmental aspect based on the law of environmental balancing and conservation. Broadly speaking, development of eco-tourism should promote quality of personal relationship, upgrade quality of living of the local communities and safeguarding the quality of environment.
Eco-tourism was an endeavor to maximize and simultaneously conserve the potentials of natural and cultural wealth to make the sources of sustainable income. In other words, eco tourism was a plus natural tourism. The above definition had been widely accepted by stakeholders of eco-tourism. The difference was clear between tourism and eco-tourism.
However, since development effort 10 years ago, the role of eco tourism had not contributed significantly to the progress of national tourism. Sutyaningsih Retnowati, Director of Tourism Appeal Development, Directorate General of Tourist Destination Development, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy in Jakarta on Thursday (26-7-2012) admitted that development effort of tourism was still hindrance so it was not running to the maximum. One of the hindrances was less effort to involve the local communities in the development process of eco-tourism. According to Sutyaniungsih, to drum up more people to join eco tourism, it was necessary to involve the local communities. “We need participation of the local people” she said.
Retnowati rated that in developing eco-tourism, it should be understood that eco-tourism, it should be understood that eco-tourism itself should be beneficial by the local people, and in fact eco tourism itself should be run directly by the people themselves whereby to bring out all the potentials. Though development of eco-tourism Retnowati was optimistic it could encourage the people to bring out the treasured customs and cultural heritage which were of high selling price to the world. According to Retnowati, the Indonesian people should be proud of their cultural heritage. The point now was how the people could feel the benefits of eco tourism which therefore should be developed and understood by the people.
He admitted that in developing eco-tourism which was truly beneficial to the people, a long and strenuous effort was needed while the result could no be felt instantly. Therefore, Retnowati said, nurturing was necessary to build people’s awareness and care for the environment. Moreover, she was also expecting that all people settled around the places of interest could change their mindset whereby to develop the existing potentials. “One thing to be observed was people’s readiness especially to be concerned of cleanliness concern for the environment whereby to attract foreign tourism.” she remarked.
She reminded of improper things that people do in eco-tourism which was away from the true meaning of tourism itself, such as oing things destructive to nature like trodding overland by jeep or cursing by speedboat. Further she said the perhaps there were tourists who obeyed the rule of eco tourism in conserved areas but the way they accessed the destination was unfriendly to nature and being destructible to other locations.
Business News - August 3, 2012