Designated tourism villages are playing an increasingly prominent role in Indonesia’s tourism landscape. These locations are selected according to their natural beauty and their potential for sustainable, community-led tourism development. With more and more of them appearing nationwide, healthy competition is heating up to find the best and brightest new locations.
This month, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno conducted a series of visits to inspect some of Indonesia’s emerging villages and community tourism enterprises. The Indonesian Tourism Village Award (ADWI) tour, as it is known, culminated in the award of best tourism village title 2023.
“I set Iboih village as the best tourism village,” said Sandiaga following completion of the ADWI tour. “We believe that tourist visits will increase here,” he added. The Minister was accompanied by acting Mayor of Sabang, Reza Fahlevi; and Aceh’s Head of Culture and Tourism, Almuniza Kamal.
Iboih Village is located in Sabang City, Aceh, on the island of Sumatra at the western edge of the Indonesian archipelago. Sandiaga explained that the award will help to drive an increase in visits to this emerging destination, helping to put it on the tourism map. The ministry’s promotional website describe Iboih as a place that will bring visitors’ expectations of natural beauty “to a whole new level.”
The site continues by outlining some of the unique appeal that will make Iboih popular with visitors: “this small, hidden paradise has remained largely untouched by much of the tourist traffic, giving it a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere; its forests are well protected by Iboih’s charming coastline of golden sands that are strewn with giant boulders.”
To support the development of tourism activities in Iboih, the Minister presented a new laptop to the village’s Tourism Awareness Group (Pokdarwis), and a set of electric fans to a group of homestays based in Aneuk Laot Tourism Village.
The number of tourism villages in Indonesia continues to rise, as evidenced by the dramatic increase in this year’s ADWI participants. A total of 4,573 villages presented themselves as candidates for the awards, surpassing the 3,419 entries from 2022 and the 1,831 locations considered by ADWI in 2021.
The minister believes this boom in local tourism is a sign the tourism sector is in excellent health. “The enthusiasm of thousands of tourism villages can ease the development of tourism villages in Indonesia,” he explained. “With the spirit of collaboration and synergy, the participants of the Indonesian Tourism Village Award has increased sharply,” he added.
The theme of this year’s ADWI was “Economic Revival from Villages for a Rising Indonesia.” Sandiaga believes the programme can help to deliver his vision for Indonesia as a “world-class tourism destination that is globally competitive, sustainable, and able to encourage regional development and people’s welfare.”