The people of Lombok have begun to recover from the earthquake that plagued the island on August 5th 2018. The Ministry of Tourism is actively promoting the region’s tourism sector, which is one of the region’s top sectors, through the Sustainable Tourism Observatory (STO) program in West Lombok focusing on the harmonization of nature, culture and the welfare of the locals.
The people of West Lombok, especially those residing in three villages, namely Sesaot, Pakuan and Buwun Sejati, also known as the Sekawan Sejati villages, are enthusiastic in promoting the region’s tourism sector. They are optimistic that their tourism sector can recover to its natural state even though they experienced a 30% drop in visitations following the earthquake.
The Ministry of Tourism’s Deputy for Sustainable Tourism Development, Valerina Daniel, heard how the locals were confident about this development when she visited the three Sekawan Sejati villages. The Sekawan Sejati area is the location of the implementation of the Sustainable Tourism Observatory (STO) program, which the Ministry of Tourism has been running in collaboration with the University of Mataram.
“The people feel the STO program is extremely beneficial because the training and guidance provided to them increases their knowledge and experience in running tourism businesses, especially during hard times like this,” Valerina said.
Many people who previously did not have steady jobs were trained through this program about how to manage destinations, create tourism packages and how to manage trash. These three villages have a lot of appealing tourism potential, starting from art, culture, coconut shell handicraft and natural beauty centered at Mount Rinjani.
“At this location, tourists can spend the night in tree houses, plant rice in paddy fields and go trekking to three waterfalls, which are Tibu Bunter, Batu Santek and Jaran Kurus. The earthquake destroyed two tree houses. The rest were damaged and are in need of renovation,” explained STO Tourism Awareness Group (Pokdarwis) Head Sekawan Sejati Azudin Noor.
There are currently 72 Pokdarwis members that are actively managing tourism locations together. They expect to be able to provide more training in the future, especially on digital promotion and being an event organizer.
The STO program is one of the Ministry of Tourism’s sustainable tourism programs. This program was adopted from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). There are currently 22 STOs in the world, five of which are located in Indonesia. Aside from Sesaot, STOs in Indonesia are located in Pangandaran monitored by the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Sleman monitored by Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Sanur monitored by Udayana University and Panguluran monitored by the North Sumatra University (USU).