More sustainable travel
Bali’s little neighbour wants to make it big with soft tourism
Bali promises exquisite beaches, richly decorated temples, deep green rice paddies and many more exotic travel experiences. No wonder the island has become so popular in recent decades, and had to cope with a real rush of visitors. Tourism is playing an increasingly important role as a vital industry and main source of income for those employed on the island.
Yet this development has its drawbacks, too. In crowded destinations, overtourism is a taking a heavy toll on the lives of the local population. In order to overcome this challenge, the Indonesian government has decided to strengthen the development of tourism in other parts of Indonesia. This would promote aspiring, less well-known destinations and attractions, and thus mitigate the pressure on Bali.
The beautiful unknown: The island of Flores
The island of Flores – like Bali one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, but around three times larger in size – is where the ENGAGE Flores project was launched. The project aims to actively develop more sustainable tourism on Flores together with the local communities and other stakeholders.
All participants are convinced that the region has the potential to inspire visitors. The Trans-Flores-Route is particularly worthy of mention here: a very windy road in parts, connecting the island from East to West, and in whose hinterland the authentic life of locals unfolds.
To date, tourism has focused only on the West of Flores, from where travellers ferry to the offshore and popular Komodo Islands in the West. The inland areas are still not very well known as a travel region, however. This is where the ENGAGE Flores project comes in. The plan is to create jobs and better living conditions for the local population in three villages Waelolos, Todo and Pemo along the Trans-Flores-Route.
Development of expertise in tourism
As part of a tourism training program, the three communities will acquire in-depth knowledge on the expansion and management of tourism products and services. This includes a joint understanding of more sustainable tourism as well as the associated hygiene, health or safety aspects. But also on the agenda are topics such as strengthening the organisation of tourism villages, local tour guides and development of culinary products, services or souvenirs in tourism villages.
For 2022, the three villages are scheduled to receive the following training, which are financed by the DER Touristik Foundation:
ENGAGE was initiated as a long-term promotion of more sustainable and inclusive tourism development on Flores. It is a multi-stakeholder cooperation comprising local communities, tour operators, destination agencies (manumadi, GoVacation Indonesia), NGOs (SUSTOUR/Swisscontact) and governments (Switzerland, Indonesia) for sustainable destination and product development on Flores.
In future, not only will the region benefit from expanding the Trans-Flores-Route thanks to the DER Touristik Foundation project, but also DER Touristik itself. After all, customers of DER Touristik will have the pleasure of experiencing authentic travel moments along the Trans-Flores-Route.
The local non-profit organisation is focused on promoting the development and marketing of travel destinations. Jointly with partners, it drives the expansion of sustainable destinations so as to positively impact the tourism sector. Since 2019, DMO Flores has led the Community Coaching on Sustainability programme, which aims to support local communities in Flores with developing more sustainable tourism in Indonesia. The programme raises public awareness of the benefits surrounding tourism by coordinating the cooperation of various stakeholders with the goal of accelerating regional tourism development. This improves skills and understanding of sustainability issues within local communities.