Community Investment in Alternative Tourism Grows

Communities are independently investing into the development of alternative tourism in their areas to attract more tourists. The involvement of the community in tourism has also been able to promote economic sustainability as locals now have other sources of income outside agricultural activities.

In the tourist destinations of Watu Lawang and Bukit Panguk Kediwung, located in Mangunan village in the district of Dlingo, Bantul, Yogyakarta, community investment in tourism facilities has reached at least Rp 100 million (US$7,452). The funds came from the pockets of neighborhood unit (RT) 11 residents in Mangunan village.

As for investment for the Kalibiru nature tourism area in Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, funds were obtained from a number of sources. The manager of the tourist spot, Sudadi, said beside income from tourists, investment funds were also obtained from the local government.

In the Umbul Ponggok freshwater tourist area, located in the district of Polanharjo, Klaten, Central Java, at least 100 families have invested roughly Rp 5 million each to develop tourism. Some locals have even spent up to Rp 25 million on tourism-related businesses.

Community investment in tourism in the Umbul Ponggok freshwater tourist spot has reached a total of Rp 4.5 billion over the last five years. Apart from the people’s own money, investment also derived from the village-owned company Tirta Mandiri, which manages Umbul Ponggok and from the village authority.

7ae66914c88045be82e43c0472091cf6KOMPAS/FERGANATA INDRA RIATMOKO–Tourists take photographs with a view of the Sermo reservoir in the background at the Kalibiru tourism spot, Hargowilis village, Kokap district, Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, Friday (2/12/2016). This tourism spot was developed and is managed by the locals, who have made into a source of livelihood for the people in the area.
This phenomenon was observed during Kompas’ meetings with residents and tourism managers in several areas over the past week up until Monday (5/12/2016).

In Banyuwangi, East Java, the people are also investing to develop the beach and underwater tourism in Bangsring, agritourism in coffee plantations and Etawa goat breeding in Gombengsari, as well as natural attractions in the Sumberbulu pine forest.

The vice chairman of the Samudera Bhakti snorkeling group, Sukirno, said the initial investment for the development of Bangsring’s underwater tourism was only Rp 1.5 million from the group’s two leaders to purchase 10 pieces of snorkeling equipment. The rental fee for the snorkeling equipment has been reduced from Rp 30,000 to Rp 25,000 per hour in order to attract more people.

Coffee farmers in the village of Lerek Rejo, Gombengsari, started their travel package services with initial capital of less than Rp 1 million. Meanwhile, villagers in Sumberbulu village in the district of Songgon, have invested Rp 3 million to turn vast areas of pine forest owned by Perum Perhutani into tourist spots for selfie-photo activities and rafting. The funds were used to build two tree houses.

Yusuf Sugiono, who manages Songgon’s pine forest tourism, said this nature tourist attraction started being promoted in October. Now, the number of visitors could reach between 200 and 300 people per day.

Ponggok village administration secretary Yani Setiadi said community investment in tourism had now become a source of income for them. “The people receive an average investment return of Rp 500,000 per month,” Setiadi said.

Workers involved in tourism activities in Umbul Ponggok’s freshwater tourism reached at least 35 people, mostly local residents. Meanwhile, nature tourism in Kalibiru involved 237 people in total, mostly consisting of parking attendants, food stall owners and tourist guides.

As many as 63 people of these employees that run the natural attraction receive a monthly salary, plus meals and overtime allowances. Their salaries range between Rp 1 million to million. The workers who work in the selfie-photo service earn about Rp 2 million per month, while freelance tourist guides receive about Rp 1 million per month. For comparison, the minimum wage in Kulon Progo, this year is Rp 1.26 million per month.

In the Mangunan tourist spot, income from parking, toilet and selfie-photo services reaches Rp 17 million a month, excluding the income of the people managing food stalls.(AHA/LAS/NIT/RWN/EGI/HRS/DIM)

Source: Kompas, December 6, 2016