WHEN a country relies heavily on tourism, it is essential the residents do what they can to make destinations as appealing as possible – and that has been happening in Gunungkidul, Indonesia.
The involvement the locals have had in developing their region to appeal to more tourists has had a hugely positive effect on reducing poverty in the area.
“With more tourist attractions being managed by the locals, it creates a multiple effect for the economy as the locals earn direct income from the tourism sector,” said Gunungkidul Central Statistics Agency (BPS).
According to BPS data, the poverty rate in Gunungkidul in 2016 was recorded at 19.34 percent which is a decrease from a critical recording of 21.73 percent in 2015.
The cycle of poverty in which many residents from Gunungkidul are stuck is created from the infertile and hilly land on which they farm, meaning they can’t meet the financial needs of a family so fall into a perpetual sequence of debt.
The Indonesian government is exploring different aspects of tourism throughout the country by creating programs based on community empowerment called Kelompok Sadar Wisata, also known as Pokdarwis.
There are 30 Tourism Awareness Communities (Pokdarwis) benefiting from the tourism sector. By focusing on areas that have long been forgotten by the government, new attractions can be created, pulling in tourists and benefiting the local economy.
This article was originally published on our sister website Travel Wire Asia