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Press Release

FLORES GOES FOR COMMUNITY-BASED TOURISM

Published :
inside-no-31

 

BERLIN, 11 March 2013 (ITB news service) – European tourists are showing interest in the small island of Flores, part of the Sunda islands,  east of Bali, but it is a sustainable community based tourism that will benefit the islanders.

 

Swisscontact, a trust based in Switzerland, has been working on Flores since 2009 to help the local population secure revenue and jobs through a specialised tourism that is sustainable and supports the community. “Not every village is a potential tourism destination”, says project manager Ruedi Nuetzi, whose main offices are in Bali, “and not every village wants to be a part of this (tourism project).”

 

An electronics engineer by trade as well as an MBA graduate, he takes pains to pick the people who will benefit the most from the project. “We show them what the benefits are”, says Nuetzi, “and it is their job to recognise them and adapt them.” Made up of five ethnic groups, the island’s population should gain benefits  from this Swiss government project, he added. The aim is to ensure the survival of village communities by setting up private trade, companies and farms. “All of a sudden people realise their culture has added value”, said the project manager, who is fascinated by the diversity of the country and its inhabitants.

 

Besides informing and educating people the project offers practical help. It includes training on how to introduce waste management, English courses and helps communities to set up organisational structures and networks. Swisscontact’s main objective is to develop the island in a socially and environmentally responsible way. “Arriving in Bali from Flores is like a culture shock“, he says. Last year, there were between 8,000 and 10,000 visitors. Most of them came in traditional phinisi boats, which nowadays carry tourists instead of goods.

 

For travel product managers, Flores remains a destination for just a few, where people can encounter an authentic and colourful faraway destination in Southeast Asia. But the launch of a strategic tourism offensive by Dr Mari Elka Pangestu, who took up office in November 2011, could well change all that.

In addition to Flores and the neighbouring island of Komodo, famous for its dragons, the Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy intends to develop 14 other attractive regions in the province of Nusa Tenggara Timur, which are rarely visited by tourists.

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