The COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected all parts of Indonesia over the past two years, has had a huge impact on people’s lives, especially those involved in tourism.
The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of the role of the community in achieving quality and sustainable tourism.
The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy believes that the role of the community in transforming towards quality and sustainable tourism needs to be strengthened through discussions in a number of international forums.
The forums include the 1st Tourism Task Force (TWG), which is part of Indonesia’s G20 Presidency.
Delegates who attended the 1st TWG meeting had the opportunity to share concrete steps or strategies, based on best practices, that G20 member countries could collaborate on.
It aimed to ensure that tourism human resources are optimally trained and their skills are upgraded in the context of the progress of digitalization while taking into account aspects of sustainable tourism.
Efforts to strengthen the role of the community in the tourism sector are centered on five lines of action, which were the focus of the 1st TWG Forum.
First, developing human capital related to talent management, education, skills, responding to market needs, as well as formulating policies and practices to create new jobs and added value.
Second, to focus on stimulating local community innovation, creating the infrastructure and skills needed for digitization and connecting urban and rural areas by making the creative economy sector a driving force to improve the tourism value chain, MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) competitiveness and attractiveness of tourist destinations.
Third, focus on empowering the role of women and youth in local communities as leaders in policy or business formulation and innovation creation.
Fourth, to develop a new model that transforms tourism activities to accelerate progress towards sustainability and net zero growth, whereby the use of energy, land, water and food sources in the industry tourism can reduce carbon emissions.
Finally, focus on creating a holistic tourism policy, adequate investment conditions, and governance model.
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After the 1st TWG on May 10-11, 2022, G20 delegates agreed to create a climate for sustainable tourism by providing international funding for efforts to transition to sustainable tourism, among others. Thus, the tourism sector can contribute more significantly to improving the economy, community well-being and nature conservation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened global public awareness of the importance of increasing climate action or a healthy tourism environment, developing a circular economy and increasing biodiversity conservation to preserve the land,” noted Tourism Task Force Chairman Frans Teguh. in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.
According to him, the success of tourism is not only measured by the number of visitors, but also by the positive impact it can have on the improvement of the economy, the well-being of the community and the preservation of nature.
He pointed out that based on research conducted by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in December 2019, the tourism sector is expected to increase carbon emissions by around 25% by 2030.
Therefore, delegates agreed to address the issue through funding to create a sustainable tourism climate.
International funding is also expected to increase the volume of low-carbon transport in the tourism sector, which will have a positive impact on environmental sustainability which, in the long term, will benefit the community.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno said his ministry will use Indonesia’s G20 Presidency to voice initiatives for sustainable tourism and promote Indonesian ecotourism through the carbon footprint calculator (CFPC).
According to him, the CFPC program is an effort to absorb the carbon footprint produced by the tourism industry to help prevent its disastrous impact on the climate.
The Carbon Calculator will calculate the amount of carbon generated by a tourist’s activities to and from a destination.
Illustrating his point, he said that if he wanted to fly to Bali from New York on an economy class ticket, based on the carbon calculator, he would have to plant 20 trees to offset the carbon emitted by the plane.
“Later we will have options in destinations like Bali to plant mangroves, maybe in the tourist village of Pemuteran in Buleleng, or we can plant trees in Lake Batur,” he said.
The CFPC program is concrete evidence of Indonesia’s efforts to achieve the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target in 2030 by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 29% through national efforts and by 41 % with international support.
The program is also expected to achieve Net Zero Emissions (NZE) by 2060.
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The 2nd working group on tourism
The second meeting of the TWG is scheduled to be held offline in Bali on September 23, 2022. The substance of the Bali guidelines will be discussed and their further formulation at the Tourism Ministerial meeting on September 26.
The formulation of the guidelines is one of the outcomes of the TWG, which is expected to contribute to global economic recovery with the tourism sector and the creative economy as the main objective, as well as to create wider employment opportunities.
The guidelines have been prepared based on a survey of G20 countries conducted by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.
Considering that each country’s approach to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is different, the survey asked each G20 member country to provide best practices from five lines of action, which served as basis for the preparation of the draft guidelines. Thus, the solutions and policies of the G20 member countries became the basis for the preparation of the draft guidelines.
Minister Uno said he hoped that with G20 member countries establishing a joint global tourism recovery agreement and the TWG series of events, 80% of the global economy would recover.
Future challenges in the tourism sector could be met by adopting a multi-stakeholder approach to sustainable tourism development, he said.
Strengthening the role of people as agents of change and devising ways to ensure the safe travel of tourists during the pandemic and post-pandemic periods would also be helpful.
Various public activities have returned to normal as the government eased several COVID-19 restrictions, such as lifting the mask mandate in open spaces and COVID-19 testing for travellers. As a result, efforts to achieve sustainable and quality tourism in Indonesia become easier.
Investors who wish to invest in the tourism sector need not worry about the threat of COVID-19 transmission in the country as, in general, most Indonesian citizens have been vaccinated.
Additionally, Indonesia’s COVID-19 vaccination and treatment programs have been recognized worldwide and have become a best practice that has supported economic recovery. In addition, at least 11,968 tourism enterprises in 34 provinces have achieved CHSE (Cleanliness, Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability) certification.
The Tourist Village program has also provided opportunities for stakeholders, local communities and businesses to gain economic benefits. For example, the tourist village of Penglipuran in Bali generated more than $1.45 million in revenue in 2020.
The government can take advantage of the G20 series of meetings in Indonesia to promote tourism and introduce local products to the world so that Indonesia can be increasingly recognized as a country ready to achieve quality and sustainable tourism.
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