Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies is exploring the scope of heritage tourism across the country. During a recent visit to Siak in Riau Province in Sumatra, Minister Uno shared his insights on the potential history and heritage tourism has to offer both communities and the economy.
One of the most prominent lures of Bali for travelers and tourists of all kinds is the truly unique culture the island has to offer. From faith to food, from architecture to natural wonders, Bali’s cultural and geological heritage is what helps the Island of the Gods win countless awards as one of the best tourism destinations in the world.
Minister Uno said that ‘History-based tourism, including heritage, is in accordance with this character. In the sense that it is not carried out in large groups but provides a strong travel experience, in line with quality and sustainable tourism’. Minister Uno is committed to improving the quality of tourism experiences across Indonesia.
As for Bali, he is on a mission to rebrand the island’s image to cater for more responsible and respectful travel. He wants to see a shift in focus for Bali’s tourism toward ‘spirituality, serenity, and sustainability’.
While hundreds of thousands of travelers head to Bali every year, many don’t stray further than the beaches of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, and Canggu. The tourism sector at present is marketing to cater to this desire. What Minister Uno wants to see is more promotion of heritage tourism across Bali and across Indonesia.
The country is one of the most culturally diverse nations in South East Asia and the government has long seen this as a key differentiator in the tourism market. This renewed focus will help create more sustainable jobs in the tourism sector and great more valuable and diverse experiences for tourists; jobs like hotel staff, tour guides, experience leaders, translators, chefs and crafts vendors.
Minister Uno told reporters ‘We believe that Indonesia’s mainstay is history-based tourism, cultural-based tourism, and we see opportunities for cooperation with BPPI in the future. Our target this year is the creation of 1.1 million new quality jobs created by the tourism sector and creative economy and increase to 4.4 million new jobs in 2024’.
Of these 4.4 million jobs he did not stipulate how many of these roles would be created in Bali specifically. Since Bali is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia, for both domestic and international visitors, Balinese workers can reliably prepare for more opportunities coming their way through the government’s heritage tourism initiatives.
For many people, the idea of heritage or historical tourism may be off-putting simply by description. But in Bali, heritage and historical tourism already make up many of the island’s leading tourist attractions and activities.
The Rice Terraces around Bali are a prime example of the historical and heritage tourism experiences that are already very popular in Bali. Tourists have the opportunity to not only visit the rice terraces and take in the spectator views but also learn about traditional agricultural practices, the deep relationship Balinese people have with their ancestral lands, and the role Balinese Hinduism plays in the rhythm of day-to-day life.
The most popular heritage rice terraces are Tegallalang and Jatiluwih, but with more promotion, there may be more of a shift to lesser known sites like the Munduk Rice Terraces as well as Pupuan and Rendang. Other key heritage sites include Tanah Lot Temple, Ubud Palace and the UNESCO Batur Geopark.
Minister Uno visited Bali late last week as a part of his 50 Best Tourism Villages in Indonesia in 2022 initiative. He announced a partnership with Australian content creator Damian Hoo to promote North and West Bali. He stated how Buleleng Regency has so much to offer and there needs to be an increase in awareness of the area.
Bali will soon become the focus of the world’s media during the G20 Summit in November. Minister Uno and the Indonesian government are working hard to use the conference as an opportunity to promote the future of tourism on the Island of the Gods.
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