Jakarta. Indonesia continues to explore the potential of tourist villages to ignite tourism and national economic recovery.
Located in the rural areas, tourist villages take its visitors away from the bustling cities and offer breathtaking panorama of nature. Travelers can explore new cultures and indulge in the local cuisine.
“Amid the large-scale development of super-priority destinations, there is an ongoing micro-scale [tourism] development, namely the tourist villages which have proven themselves as the pandemic winner,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno told Investor Daily Summit 2021 —the country's biggest investment forum— on Thursday.
“With remote-working, tourist villages can be an option,” he said.
Indonesia currently has more than 1,500 tourist villages — all fall under different categories depending on their tourism readiness, according to Sandiaga.
The categories are as follows: startups, developing, developed, and self-sufficient. Startup tourist villages refer to those who have not fully unlocked their tourism potential. At the other end of the scale are the self-sufficient, tourist-ready villages.
“I consider the self-sufficient tourist destinations as ‘unicorns’. Of that 1,500-ish villages, we are aiming for 244 ‘unicorns’ this year. What we are pursuing here is a personalized, customized, localized, and smaller-in-size approach,” he said.
Tourist village directory Jadesta's most recent data shows, at the time of writing, Indonesia is home to 1,624 tourist villages and its number continues to grow. Of that figure, only three tourist villages are certified to be self-sufficient.
Jadesta data revealed 1,553 villages are participating in Anugerah Desa Wisata Indonesia, a competition held by the Tourism Ministry to determine which village is the most tourist-ready. The categories include compliance to cleanliness, health, safety, and environmental sustainability (CHSE) protocols, in a bid to regain tourist confidence amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Villages, Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration Ministry is rolling out village funds to 75,961 villages across the archipelago for rural development. The allocated village fund for this year reaches Rp 72 trillion (about $4.9 billion).
In hopes to generate more tourist villages, the Tourism Ministry will focus on three key aspects, namely training, assistance, and entrepreneurship.
"We are aware that our budget is currently facing challenges. That is why in 'Anugerah Desa Wisata Indonesia', we will train the village-owned entreprises to better manage the existing village funds to spur economic growth, as well as new jobs and skills," Sandiaga said.
The Tourism Ministry will also assist the village-owned enterprises to create new creative economy products and tourist attractions.
"On entrepreneurship, generating new micro, small, and medium enterprises [MSMEs] in these tourist villages will also help unlock new economic growth engine for the region," Sandiaga said.