Indonesia stretches across more than 17,000 islands with an exceptional diversity of cultures but also living conditions as well as economic differences among its almost 250 million inhabitants. In many areas, there is a big gap between the majority of the population living in poverty and few business owners having achieved economic success. Besides agriculture, fishing and mining, tourism is one of the important income generating industries in Indonesia. A record of 10.4 million visitors came to Indonesia in 2015, a growth of 10.2% compared to 2014, generating US$ 11.9 billion in foreign exchange income. Tourism is a labour intensive service industry with a large potential for creating employment and new business opportunities for the local population.
Swisscontact has been supporting tourism development on the island of Flores since 2009 with funds from the Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO). Due to the positive impact of the program, it was decided that a second phase of WISATA should be carried out. Besides Flores, three additional program locations – Tanjung Puting, Toraja and Wakatobi – were selected in accordance with the national program of the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism. In addition, the program supports three higher education institutes under the Ministry of Tourism, namely in Bandung, Makassar and Bali.
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The main goal of the program is to contribute to economic development through sustainable tourism, creating employment and income to improve the livelihood of the local population. To achieve this, the program works in different areas. The first component focuses on strengthening the competitiveness of the selected tourism destinations through support of a destination management organization (DMO) responsible for aspects of internal destination development as well as external destination marketing. The second component addresses the quality of tourism education and training by working with vocational schools as well as higher education institutions to improve their quality and networks for exchange. The final aspect is related to the transfer of experiences at the national level to share the approach of WISATA on a wider scope.
The approach that WISATA program follows according to its three component comprises the following elements:
- Destination management, marketing and networking through the DMO
- Community involvement through provision of service and local products
- Service Quality improvement of SME through support to tourism business associations
- Tourism education at vocational schools and higher education level
- Government support to provide an enabling environment for tourism
The programme started its second phase in June 2014 by adding three new destinations, namely Tanjung Puting, Toraja and Wakatobi, while continuing its support in Flores.
Some Results until December 2015
- In all four destinations the DMOs are in place. The operational unit of the DMO Flores successfully offers services to 3rd party. Flores and Toraja partner with the Ministry of Tourism for national and international Trade Fair participation
- Toraja has developed and introduced its official destination brand where 500 online voters among the local stakeholders of Tana Toraja and Toraja Utara participated in the selection of logo and tagline.
- Flores, Toraja and Wakatobi promote actively their region and products online through websites and social media
- DMO Flores established an expert pool (FReN) with local professionals to be assigned as trainers for their future Service Quality improvement program
- 70 tour guides' service quality have improved with the help of the tour guide pocketbook on tourism of Flores
- 8 different toolkits to improve practical skills of hospitality and tour guide professionals are distributed by professional associations to local businesses
- The new developed Hospitality Coaching (HoCo) pilot program was successfully implemented in 5 hotels in Labuan Bajo, Flores. The HoCo program is offered by the Flores DMO targeting small hotel and guesthouses to become more competitive and efficient, increase guest satisfaction.
- Partnership between the community based tourism (CBT) group Liya Togo in WAkatobi and inbound businesses (dive operators, hotels, and resorts) has been build up with the aim to improve the quality of tourism service and product in Liya Togo.
- The CBT group of Waturaka has opened 11 homestays and can provide tourism packages for visitors such as dances and traditional music performance of Lio Tribes.
- Handicraft producers from Bena (Ikat waving) and Belaragi (lontar leaf weaving) in Flores are linked to the local tourism market through exhibitions
- Within the Solid Waste program local women groups from Labuan Bajo successfully produce, promote and sell innovative products from recycled waste.
- 14 instructors from 7 vocational schools (SMK) joined a teacher internship program (TIP) at hotels, tour operators, and airline companies in Bali for one month. The trainers gained practical experiences from the industry to develop teaching materials to be applied at schools.
- 5 talented SMK graduates from Flores and Kalimantan started their 4 years scholarship program at STP Bandung for a Diploma Program in Destination Management. The local Government of Sikka, Flores intends to include a future scholarship program for 3 students financed through their own budget.
- Curricula of Destination Management including lesson plan and syllabus has been developed to be introduced by STP Bandung, STP Bali, POLTEKPAR Makassar. Teachers of the institutes gained competences on the new subject.