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Sustainable Tourism in Harmony with Nature, People, and Spirituality

Realizing development based on the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy.

This is part of the  discussion  from  the webinar Sustainability Insight #20 organized on 12 October 2020, Sustainable Tourism in Harmony with Nature, People, and Spirituality. Moderated by Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Office in Jakarta, Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, guest speakers for the session would include Mr. I Gusti Ngurah Gede Agung Pradipta, Co-Founder for Project Kalpa, Mr. Yunus Arbi, Former Deputy Director of World Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture and Education, Indonesia and Mr. Sidi Rana Menggala,  Cinnamon Researcher, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium.

Mr. Yunus, who was involved in the nomination of the Cultural Landscape of Bali: The Subak System as a World Heritage Site (WHS), enlightened the viewers on the Outstanding Universal Values of the Subak System, which adheres to the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy. The ancient philosophy, he continued, is a principle that seeks balance between Man, Nature and Spirituality, to create a sustainable development and peace to the land. Together with Mr. I Gusti and through the Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme (MUCP) supervised by the UNESCO Office in Jakarta, they contributed to develop the guidebook Sustainable Tourism Strategy-Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy.

Mr. I Gusti meanwhile shared his experience as the co-founder of Project Kalpa, a youth NGO  consisted of undergraduates  from Udayana University, Indonesia. Mentored by Mr. Yunus, Project Kalpa engaged with farmers from the WHS in Bali to promote  ecotourism model for low-impact tourism. Project Kalpa also conducted participatory mapping based on engagement with the stakeholders within the WHS, to develop a guidebook promoting sustainable tourism. Mr. I Gusti also shared that many youths within the region now have started founding their own NGOs to preserve and promote sustainable economic growth, based on integration of modern technologies and  traditional cultural values. He also further shared that the economy of Bali now is focusing on agricultural activities, to compensate the loss from dwindling number of tourists coming to Bali due to COVID-19.

Mr. Sidi meanwhile  elaborated on the potential of the Indonesian Cinnamon (Cinnamomum burmannii) as an agricultural commodity of Indonesia. The spice, which is very prominent in Indonesia, is part of the historical legacy of Indonesia, and contributes  to the livelihood of farmers. As his current research seeks to increase the value-chain of the spice in improving the profit gained by farmers, he further commented that most of the research done on Indonesian Cinnamon would focus on the plant itself, with many more areas to be discovered, especially on better agricultural practices, economic impact, linkages with tourism and others. Commenting on the integration of agricultural activities and  tourism, he elaborated on the activities near the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, another Indonesian WHS where the local communities planted  the Indonesian Cinnamon and yet taking part in the tourism industry. This would diversify economic resources, which should buffer any economic losses in the time of COVID-19.

The Director of the UNESCO Office in Jakarta, Prof Shahbaz Khan concluded the webinar by highlighting the similarities of the fundamentals for  both the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy and the Sustainable Development Goals.  He further commented on the benefits of a sustainable tourism industry which have the understanding and support of the local communities and youths, as well as the potential of having agricultural practices highlighted as touristic activities, which would improve the economic capacity of farmers.

This webinar was an extension of the MUCP project - The Power of Culture: Supporting Community-Based Management and Sustainable Tourism at World Heritage Sites in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. The project, which involved WHS from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines produced several guidebooks and publication,  as follows:

The recording of the webinar can be viewed  here.

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