PRESS RELEASE: Tourism For Tomorrow Awards 2016

Yayasan Ekowisata Indonesia or known as INDECON has been selected as the Finalist of Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2016 in Community category. This Award appreciates Indecon’s commitment in community development and ecotourism development in Indonesia particularly, and also globally. The inauguration was done by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) ( the 16th WTTC Global Summit in Dallas, Texas on 6th and 7th April 2016. Indecon attended the event to present about ecotourism in Indonesia. Unfortunately, INDECON has not yet been able to take home the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards this year. Judge of the Awards has selected Expedicciones Sierra Nortes Publeos Mancomunados from Mexico as the Winner of Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2016 in Community category.

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards is one of the prestigious awards in tourism globally. This Award appreciates the performance of organizations in promoting more sustainable tourism by educating and inspiring various stakeholders, both government, tourism, and tourism industry. Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2016 has 5(five) categories, which are: Community, Destination, Environment, Innovation and People; with 3 Finalists in each category. This year’s Finalists were selected out of institutions from 62 different countries all over the world. Indecon is the only Finalist representing Indonesia this year, while the other two from Community category are from Mexico and Vietnam. Judge of the Awards has selected Expedicciones Sierra Nortes Publeos Mancomunados from Mexico as the Winner of Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2016 in Community category.The other winners for this year Awards are: Parkstad Limburg, Netherland (Destination Category), Wilderness Safari, Bostwana (Environment Category), ANVR Netherlands Travel Trade Association (Innovation Category), and Youth Career Initiative, UK (People Category)

The assessment process was conducted in 3(three) stages. First, all nominees were evaluated by team of judge which consisted of independent tourism experts. Second, the on-site evaluation process was conducted by judges of international sustainable tourism experts. Lastly, a recommendation from the on-site evaluation became the recommendation for the main judging panel. Judges of Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are world leading experts is tourism, both from tourism industry, academics, NGO, and government; which included Graham Miller (Award Lead Judge, Professor of Sustainability in Business and Head of School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Surrey), Fiona Jeffery OBE (Chair of the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards), Darrell Wade (Co-Founder and CEO, Intrepid Group, Australia), Hugh Riley (Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Barbados), and Stephanie Draper (Deputy Chief Executive, Forum for the Future, United Kingdom).

The assessment has reviewed Indecon’s works and commitment to community development and ecotourism development in Indonesia; including but not limited to Tangkahan (North Sumatra), Candirejo Village (Central Jawa), Pangandaran, Raja Ampat and Arfak Mountain Range (West Papua) and Flores. Prof. Kumi Kato, professor in environmental studies and eco humanities from Wakayama University, is the on-site evaluation. She had visited several locations where Indecon had been working together with local communities to develop ecotourism, which was Waerebo, Tololela, Liang Ndara, and Tado in Flores. These villages had been particularly assistant by Indecon in the last 3 years through the European Union co-funded Innovative Indigenous Flores Ecotourism for Sustainable Trade (INFEST) project.

Judges assessed different key factors of sustainability, including interaction between visitors and communities; as well “Apparently, judge not only evaluated the success of tourism development from economic impact through increase of tourists arrivals and increase of income; but also assessed the happiness of local communities after tourism flourished in the village…”, said Ary S. Suhandi, Director of Indecon who accompanied the on-site judge during the visit, “…as well as a contribution of tourism to support natural conservation and cultural preservation.”

For Indecon, the active role of local communities is one of the key determinant factors of sustainability. Change of perspective and behavior of local stakeholders in sustainable conservation of their natural and cultural resources are fundamental for community-based tourism development. Therefore, we have always worked by heart to push this and strengthen commitment of local stakeholders. Indecon has also put multidisciplinary research as the basis for development; encouraging local communities not to think about short-term profit but also potential benefit and impact in the future; as well as pushing all stakeholders not to wait but to take action accordingly to each role and capacity.

From Dallas, during an informal gathering after the event, Ary S. Suhandi said, “this Award is very valuable for Indecon as well as all Indonesian ecotourism network which has contributed to sustainable tourism development particularly community-based ecotourism for 20 years in Indonesia. Although we have not yet won, I hope that our journey so far can inspire our next generation for ecotourism development to make better achievement in the future.”