Issues of Sustainable Tourism in Indonesia

Indonesia in the past few years has begun to position itself as a sustainable tourist destination aggressively. As if it does not want to be outdated, various events related to sustainable tourism issues are echoed by the government. Just mention the discourse on the implementation of development suggestions from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation Development) interrupted by the recent IMF / WB Meeting [1] ⁠, the holding of the annual ISTA (Indonesian Sustainable Tourism Award) [2] ⁠, the pursuit of sustainable development in 10 destinations Priority [3] ⁠ are some examples of the government’s seriousness (read: Ministry of Tourism) in realizing Indonesia as a world tourist destination that adopts sustainable principles.

Sustainable tourism is necessarily a philosophy of tourism development that emphasizes the benefits to tourists, industry, local communities and the environment for the present and future [4] ⁠. If only one party gets benefits, while there is another party that is harmed then that is not the principle of sustainable tourism. So even if the benefit is only for the sake of the present, while the future is ignored. The Indonesian government policy has begun to adopt this principle on all lines from the central level to the regions even though not all as stated in Republic of Indonesia Law No. 10 of 2009 concerning Tourism article 2 [5] ⁠, as well as its derivative policies such as Minister of Tourism Regulation No. 14 Yr 2016 [6] ⁠, as well as at the Provincial level [7] ⁠ and District [8] ⁠. Judging from the economic approach, this sustainable tourism strategy can be seen from two perspectives, namely supply and demand [9] ⁠. From the supply side, the development of sustainable tourism emphasizes the management aspects of tourist destinations, while looking at the management demand side will emphasize more on tourist aspects such as marketing strategies, identification of tourist behavior, tourist education on the noble values ​​of local culture and the like. In essence, sustainable tourism is a value about the balance of all parties involved for the present and the future.

Ironically, this noble principle is not necessarily understood in depth, let alone run by all tourism stakeholders. We still find a lot, even at the central government level, the apparatus cannot explain more about this principle, primarily if you have spoken at the level in the district/city. We still find policies that are counter-productive with the principle of sustainable tourism [10] ⁠. Local regulations that are pro to specific industries and tend to be exploited by the environment [11] ⁠, tourism policies that do not accommodate local people [12] ⁠ and pay attention to the values ​​and treasures of local culture are examples of this phenomenon. On the industrial side, there are still many industries that have not applied sustainable principles in managing their businesses [13] ⁠, not a few of which are oriented towards extracting unilateral profits, CSR issues that are included in the Investment Law and Limited Liability Companies. However, it still shows more interest in obligations, sanctions, a portion of funds, and security of business interests. Not yet mentioned all about the meaning, values, and ideals of sustainable development [14] ⁠. The same thing can also be seen from the behavior of foreign tourists who have recently been publicly published in international media where they take pictures with indecent clothing in one of the temples in Bali [15] ⁠, even when there are tourists going up to the Holy Temple section which is considered the most sacred by the local community [16] ⁠. On the environmental side, our memories are still apparent with the publication published by The Guardian about the phenomenon of plastic waste at the Nusa Penida sea where the video was taken by a British diver [17] ⁠, besides that we also easily find uncontrolled poaching activities [18] ⁠, deforestation [19] ⁠, uncontrolled waste disposal, and other examples that are too many can be found in the current reality of tourism.

From some of the illustrations above it can be seen that the realization of sustainable tourism in all elements of tourism stakeholders is not a light job as easy as turning the palm. A massive and integrated movement is needed from upstream to downstream, both movements that are top-down approach and bottom up. Upstream can be started by strengthening cross-sector legislation in contact with tourism, for example, marine and fisheries, forestry, industry, trade, starting from the central level to the district/city level by emphasizing the importance of this sustainable principle. Strengthening tourism marketing programs that are more focused on sustainable market segments, strengthening institutional aspects in all lines of government from the top level to institutions at the village level, to strengthening policies that intersect with industry parties.

In the downstream, efforts to develop sustainable tourism need to be done not only on the side of physical destination development. However, also the technical rules and visitor management techniques to the smallest details on the implementation of waste management, water use, consumption of beverages in plastic packaging, tourism industry standard operating procedures that integrate sustainable values and so on. It also needs the involvement of the local community as the host, the importance of education about these principles to be socialized to them, where they will act as agents of change from the smallest environment and expand little by little. No less important is the dissemination of this principle by influencers on social media, to the element of education as early as possible starting from the most elementary school levels, kindergarten, and elementary school to the highest level of education about understanding this sustainable development.

Over time, with a sustainable tourism movement that is well integrated, hopes for the future of Indonesian tourism will look brighter. So that the beauty of nature and the richness of culture in a tourist destination that we can witness now, will still be witnessed and felt by our children and grandchildren in the future. Hopefully. (ay)

[1] “Indonesia sambut tawaran OECD kembangkan pariwisata – ANTARA News.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].
[2] “Kempar dorong pembangunan pariwisata berkelanjutan sampai timur Indonesia.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].
[3] “Hari Pariwisata Sedunia, Kemenpar Gencarkan Sustainable Tourism Development : Okezone Lifestyle.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].
[4] UNWTO, “Definition | Sustainable Development of Tourism,” “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities,” 2005. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22-Sep-2018].
[6] Menteri Pariwisata, Peraturan Menteri Pariwisata No. 14 Thn 2016. Menteri Pariwisata, 2016.
[9] X. Font and T. E. Ahjem, “Searching for a balance in tourism development strategies,” Int. J. Contemp. Hosp. Manag., vol. 11, no. 2–3, pp. 73–77, 1999.
[10] CNN Indonesia, “‘Hantu-Hantu’ Pariwisata di Bali,” 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].
[11] Walhi, “Ancaman Tambang dan Perampasan Tanah Adat dalam Perda Riau Nomor 10/2015 dibatalkan Mahkamah Agung – Walhi,” 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].
[12] Kompas, “Dampak Pariwisata Mentawai Belum Dinikmati Masyarakat –,” 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].
[13] “Pemerintah Diminta Tindak Tegas Hotel Tanpa IPAL Di Danau Toba –,” 2018. [Online]. Available:–RVs. [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].
[14] Rahma Yulita, “Menguak Problematika CSR di Indonesia,” 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].
[15] The Strait Times, “Bali to restrict tourist access in temples following incidents of disrespectful behaviour, SE Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times,” 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].
[16], “Viral Wisman Menduduki Pelinggih, Bali akan Buat Aturan Kunjungan Wisata ke Pura,” 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].
[17] The Guardian, “‘Plastic, plastic, plastic’: British diver films sea of rubbish off Bali | World news | The Guardian,” 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 27-Oct-2018].
[18] TribunJateng, “Perburuan Liar Ancam Keberadaan Owa Jawa di Hutan Lindung Petungkriyono – Tribun Jateng,” 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].
[19] Jitunews, “Ketua DPR Minta Polri Tindak Tegas Pelaku Pembalakan Hutan Di Riau –,” 2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Oct-2018].

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