Bali’s Governor, Wayan Koster, has officially opened a new eco-tourism initiative in Kintamani, Bangli Regency. The eco-tourism program is based in the Glagalinggah Pine Forest in Bali’s highlands. Sitting 1,200m above sea level, the pine forest has been inaugurated by the Governor as a destination for tourists to learn ‘messages of environmental preservation alongside local wisdom’.
The new eco-tourism program has been bought to life through a collaborative effort by stakeholders in the Glagalinggah Pine Forest Tourism Area, including the teams from Indonesia’s Forestry and Environmental Ministries, PT Tirta Investama, AQUA Mambal, and community leaders.
The tourism initiative has been sponsored as a part of a Rainwater Friendly Village Program and Nature Tourism programs from the corporate social responsibility departments of PT Tirta Investama, and AQUA Mambal.
Speaking at the launch of the new forest tourism program, Governor Koster said, “I appreciate parties…and private companies who support the implementation of Social Forestry in Bali, especially the Village Forest, which was developed to drive the economy, the residents of Glagahwangi Village deserve a thumbs up for being able to preserve their natural potential while at the same time taking economic value from the activities on it”.
Speaking on behalf of Danone, the parent company of AQUA Mambal, Karyanto Wibowo shared the company’s hopes for the forest to be used as a destination for education and tourism. Wibowo said, “The assistance we have provided has produced results with a well-maintained environment by the community with their local wisdom. This potential makes the Glagalinggah Pine Forest Tourism Area a tourist destination. We will continue to encourage this kindness so that it can inspire more people”.
The tourism program, which includes walks around the forest and educational exchange areas, is based on the six principles, or wisdoms, of Sad Kerthi in Balinese Hinduism. Visitors can now follow trekking routes through the forest or enjoy talks and events at the amphitheater.
The conservation teams involved in the development of the Glagalinggah Pine Forest Tourism program have enriched the landscape by planting more native fauna traditionally used in Balinese medical and in cultural ceremonies.
As discussed in the launch of the eco-tourism initiative on Wednesday, 21st December, visitors to Glagalinggah Pine Forest can learn about the indigenous fauna and how the planting of native medicinal plants in the pine forest supports the ecosystem at large. Visitors are encouraged to read the information signboards around the forest to learn more about the conversation efforts in the area and can even adopt a tree to contribute funds to the local community as forest managers.
Until now, the Glagalinggah Pine Forest was relatively unknown outside of communities in Bali. There was no formal visitor’s center or tourism program. The area was visited infrequently and mostly by locals or photographers and their clients using the pine forest as an Instagrammable backdrop.
Wibowo continued, “We are motivated by forest village communities who have implemented environmental preservation here, of course also with government support through related agencies. This is a collective action, a form of collaboration that must be maintained so that it can run and be sustainable.”
Closing statements were made by the Chief of the Glagalinggah Traditional Village, Wayan Sumadi, who shared his hopes for the future of the project. He said, “We studied conservation and nature tourism by mapping digital tour packages to reduce paper, as well as building tourist facilities…It is hoped that tourists will not only see the beautiful scenery but can learn how people respect and protect nature with strong local wisdom”.
The Glagalinggah Traditional Village and Pine Forest Tourism Area sit within Bangli Regency, an area that is receiving a significant amount of interest. The regency is touted to be Bali’s next must-visit destination, with investors from all over the world highlighting the potential the regency has.
Bangli Regency, especially Kintamani, has been featured as a destination in AirBnB’s Live and Work Anywhere Bali campaign. The Governor of West Java recently visited Bangli and told reporters about his intentions to invest in education and tourism development in the area.
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