PRESS RELEASE: Creative Entrepreneurship for Accelerating Tourism and Local Economic Development (CREATED) project

Today, key stakeholders of East Nusa Tenggara ecotourism will gather to witness the kick–off of community based initiative “Creative Entrepreneurship for Accelerating Tourism and Local Economic Development” (CREATED) project in Flores island, East Nusa Tenggara. CREATED project is a joint collaboration of Yayasan Ekowisata Indonesia (Indecon) and its partners – Benih Matahari Foundation (BIMA) and Yayasan Lingkungan Hidup Seloliman (YLHS). It will be implemented in 3 regions, which are Mbeliling region in West Manggarai District, Ruteng region in Manggarai District, and Inerie region in Ngada District in East Nusa Tenggara; and cities in Flores Island. CREATED is co-financed by the Civil Society Organizations and Local Authorities in Development (CSO-LA) programme from the European Union.

CREATED project continues the previous initiatives of EU-funded INFEST (Innovative Indigenous Flores Ecotourism for Sustainable Trade) project. It will be implemented from 2016 to 2019 to strengthen INFEST key achievements in improving capacity of local tourism stakeholders and developing tourism villages in Flores. The objectives of CREATED project are (i) promoting a constructive and effective participation of civil society in developing local economic policies in Flores; and (ii) improving linkage of community based economic activities to tourism in order to increase tourism contribution to poverty reduction and equitable economic growth. Project activities during the period of 2016-2019 will include:

  • creating added value for community products at village by improving their quality and variety for tourism industry.
  • increasing entrepreneurship of local tourism organization and local community
  • developing business network and marketing for community products to tourism industry.
  • improving capacity and promote dialogue in local economic development to integrate inter region tourism development.

In its implementation, CREATED will ensure participation of village communities, tourism stakeholders, as well as local governments.

Lokot Ahmad Enda (Deputy Assistant of Cultural Destination Development, Ministry of Tourism) highly welcomes this initiative, which fit into the focus of Ministry of Tourism to accelerate tourism development in Flores. “We will continue our support for tourism development in Flores. We are committed to work hand-in-hand with CREATED project and district governments….” Lokot said.

Indeed, his call has been welcomed by local government of Ngada District. Drs. Sidhu Paulinus, the Head of Department of Transportation, Tourism, Communications and Informatics (P2KI) Ngada  in this occasion said, “We would like to enable our local communities to optimize benefits from tourism in Flores; a vision which we believe is shared by the previous INFEST project during 2013-2016 and now will continue with CREATED. Thus, we are hoping to extend our partnership, if possible not only in Jerebu’u, but also to other areas such as Bajawa and Wolobobo”. The day also marked a new approach for tourism development in Flores, as Lokot Ahmad Enda, Drs. Sidhu Paulinus (represent Bupati Ngada)and Ary Suhandi signed a commitment for partnership.

Although not able to participate in person, Franck Viault (Minister Counsellor/Head of Cooperation Section, Delegation of European Union to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam) conveys his warmest regards to all stakeholders in Flores. “We are pleased to hear about high interest of Flores (eco)tourism stakeholders to be fully involved in this initiative. We look forward to see results and strengthen cooperation through CREATED, especially in enhancing local communities’ capacity and knowledge to create more added values from tourism as well as to establish good networks and marketing channels”. Franck added “We also hope that success stories and experiences from community in tourism villages benefiting from CREATED could also be useful to tourism development in other parts of Flores island, East Nusa Tenggara and beyond”.

Tourist arrival in Flores maintains its steady growth in the last 3 years. With an increase about 10-11% annually and ever-increasing number of tourism business, tourism is one the leading sectors in Flores. Since 2012, Flores has been designated as one of strategic tourism destinations in Indonesia; and furthermore as one of the President’s priority tourism destinations. It is expected to be able to generate positive impact to local areas, both economically, socially, and environmentally; as agreed by Ir. Martinus Ban, Assistant of Economics and Development of West Manggarai District, “…this initiative is coherent with our vision for West Manggarai, particularly in developing agro tourism. We know that, particularly Labuan Bajo, will play major role to take advantage and distribute benefit from tourism to our district and to Flores. Moreover, we will develop intensified agriculture clusters to address the tourism demand…”

Tourism should have provided more opportunities for the surrounding villages in terms of provision of goods and services. Demand from tourism sector, which has increased accordingly both from tourists and business should be matched appropriately to what local areas can provide. Consequently, capacity of local communities and enterprises to cater this demand should be improved to accelerate the linkage between tourism and local economic development; as well as between cities and the surrounding villages.

Similarly, Manggarai District government also shared this view, “we are developing Manggarai as supplier of agriculture products for tourism bussiness in Flores cities. We are welcoming this initiative as our partner“, said DR. Kamelus Deno, Bupati of Manggarai District.