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Community Based Tourism exchange with Philippines

The return visit, where the Filipino initiatives would visit the Indonesian pilots, was initially scheduled for 2020, during the global pandemic COVID-19. The E-Motive team had to get creative and organized a virtual return visit for early 2021.

Surprisingly, more than 100 people attended the online exchange, including Indonesian government officials, Youth Hub members, implementing partners, and Oxfam country office staff, while there were no sitting fees, minimal marketing, and no promises of further funding opportunities. Youth Hubs in Indonesia shared videos showcasing their Community Based Tourism (CBT) tours, hostels, and local products, while Filipino CBT Best Practices shared videos of their sites as well as personal stories of the tourism operators, and the teams’ responses to the COVID-19 tourism lag.

A lot of knowledge and experience was shared during this three day event, on strategies for survival during Covid-19 and how innovation and creativity can be used to survive and much more.

To (make) a change, we do not years of thinking. We need one action with willingness to change quickly yet continuously - Asri Rahman, Sibatang (a youth-led local market place), Barru district

What did we learn from the exchange?
  • The CBT package must have a story; educate the public so that they can share in the story.
  • Get to know the product chain and network.
  • Village tourism will be successful with the community as the key.
  • Use local traditions and local enterprises for tourist tours and teach tourist, share stories with them.
  • Give trainings on how to reach the market and process local products (offline and online) as alternative recourse for income.
  • Local people know the cultural and history and can tell stories and do performances.
  • Make sure the money goes to the locals, not to the big companies.
  • Make good use of social media.
  • Relationship and cooperation are key (community, youngsters, government, experts, trainers)
  • Make profit, have a business mindset.
  • Inform the community and discuss their urgent challenge, make it a joint mission to solve clean water, or electricity or eco framing.
  • Reduce ego, build togetherness, support each other.
  • Virtual tours as a means of promoting the area and seizing revenue opportunities during the pandemic.

Exchange Learning event had opened up my mind to learn more about various thing around me. Learning from culture and innovation from other countries had motivated me to become more benefitting for my society. We are youth, sure we can! - Yusdevitasari, VTBarru (a youth led virtual tour organizer), Barru District

What did we learn from COVID-19?
  • The need for sustainable tourism is more urgent then ever.
  • Tourism is strongly affected by external factors, so, to maintain resilience of the destination, strategies are needed to develop other local resources.
  • Always pay attention to the standards of health, hygiene, and safety as well as the carrying capacity of the environment.
  • Tourism managers need to prepare for mitigation to reduce the risk of loss.
  • Human resource development is key to successful CBT development.

A special thanks to Oxfam, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Pangkep and Barru District Governments, and partners from the Philippines for holding this event.