panorama destination

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Off the Beaten Track: In Search of Indonesia’s Next World-Class Tourism Village
31 August 2023 | Written by Chris Alexander

“This village is based on preserved local culture, traditions and language. I believe it will emerge as one of Indonesia’s world-class tourist destinations.”

Speaking on Sunday, 13 August, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno outlined his plan to promote the Tebara Tourism Village in West Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara Province, as the next world-class tourist destination on offer in Indonesia.

“We have visited 75 villages across Indonesia as (part of) our ultimate programme for tourism villages,” said the minister. “We captured the enthusiasm expressed by communities eager to welcome our economic revival. Hopefully, this village will boost tourist visits and (help) create 4.4 million new quality job opportunities,” he added.

Located in Wakabukak in West Sumba District, Tebara Tourism Village is one of many tourism villages visited by the minister as part of the ongoing 2023 Indonesian Tourism Village Awards (ADWI). Officially launched in Jakarta on 31 January, ADWI recognises tourism villages around Indonesia who have something special to offer.

By casting the net wider and exploring some unique locations off the beaten track, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy hopes to capture new attractions and offer more choice to visitors, while also sparking economic development nationwide.

According to ministry’s official website, the initiative is designed to “stimulate cooperation among pantahelix (academics, businessmen, community, government and media) in the name of progress (for) tourism villages.”

In order to be considered for the prestigious title of Best Tourism Village in Indonesia 2023, candidates must excel in all five of the assessment criteria. First, they must have unique and authentic tourist attractions that combine nature, arts and culture.

Next, the standards of homestay services, sanitation and other tourist facilities and infrastructure are assessed, to ensure the comfort and convenience of visiting tourists.

The third and fourth criteria look at digital transformation capacity and the availability of souvenirs that showcase local craftsmanship, respectively. According to the ministry, “each tourism village must have the creativity to invent culinary traditions, fashions and handicrafts according to the local wisdom.”

Finally, ADWI assessment focuses on CHSE (Cleanliness, Health, Safety and Environment Sustainability) to ensure cleanliness and safety for all who live, work and visit there.

An estimated 4,000 tourism villages from 34 provinces in Indonesia are expected to participate in this year’s contest, which has the theme ‘world-class tourism’. The campaign is expected to help attract more than 7.4 million foreign tourists to Indonesia in 2023, while also creating 4.4 million new jobs in the tourism sector by the end of the year.

Back in Tebar on the island of Sumba, Minister Uno is admiring the megalithic ruins and distinctive huts with their eye-catching thatched roofs. Speaking to reporters, he recommends a pair of delicious local dishes that are a must-try.

“The village has a very delicious dish called rumpu rampe, which is made from banana flowers, papaya flowers,and long beans – and not to mention a porridge with a unique taste, called ro’o luwa,” shared Minister Uno in his mouth-watering dispatch from East Nusa Tenggara.

For international visitors looking to get a taste of Indonesia in the months ahead, there are at least 75 new destinations to choose from.