Indonesia`s ecotourism needs serious management, expert says

Tokyo (Antara News) - Indonesia`s ecotoursim needs to be managed in a serious way so that it will attract foreign tourists as this archipelagic country has great potentials in the sector, a Japanese ecotourism expert said.

Prof Yoichiro Takanashi, director of the Japanese Ecotourism Society (JES), said here Tuesday Indonesia should develop its ecotourism sector in the long term as it would be of great benefit and increase the people`s awareness about the need to conserve the environment.

According to him, foreign tourists would be interested in visiting Indonesia if they knew the country had a clear concept of ecotourism development.

Ecotourism development could also help improve the local economy and create activities in international trade on a bigger scale, he said.

He said Japan already had a law on ecotourism which would come into force in April, 2008.

The law permanently protects Japan`s culture and natural wealth including its economic potentials.

The motto "Back to nature" was the philosophical basis as well as the appreciation that nature as the home of human beings is also able to sustain them (human beings), the lecturer at Cyber University in Japan said.

Takanashi further said ecotourism development should be focused, have infrastructure support and information backup.

Indonesia`s ecotourism should be promoted frequently and sustainably as in principle the Japanese public and other foreign tourists sufficiently knew Indonesia but they did not know much about its ecotourism except those in Bali and Yogyakarta, he said.

The promotions should also cover other interesting places like local cultural and natural tourist sites as well as other supporting facilities, he said.

Takanashi also said broad and various promotion activities at new locations in Indonesia could give new information to foreign tourists and local people.

Paticipants in the International Ecotourism Business Forum in Wosobo on December 2 were concerned over the concept of Indonesia`s ecotourism which tended to meet local people`s tastes.

Marketing Director General of the Tourism Ministry, Thamrin Bachri, said ecotourism development should be related to nature conservation and the `taste` of foreign tourists.

"Not only should foreign tourists be served but also directly involved in natural conservation activities," he said.

General Manager of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia for Japan, South Korea, China and the United States, Arif Wibowo, said he supported the promotion of Indonesia`s ecotourism abroad but it should consider the taste of foreign tourists.

"They tend to buy products with information on efforts to conserve nature. They will not buy products resulting from efforts to damage the environment," he said. (*)
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