Bank Indonesia and the Bali Hotels Association (BHA) have launched an initiative to assist villages across the island to develop village-based, eco-friendly tourism.
The central bank will provide the funds while the association will provide the expertise.
As many as seven villages have agreed to participate in the initiative.
The villages are Pinge in Tabanan, Petulu in Gianyar, Penglipuran in Bangli, Belimbingsari in Jembrana, Pancasari in Buleleng, Jasri and Budakeling in Karangasem.
The initiative will organise training and workshops aimed at improving villagers’ hospitality skills, among other skills.
The initiative would also see renovation and construction projects aimed at converting villagers’ houses and the village community halls into lodging and dining facilities.
It will also assist the villages in designing tourism packages based on the villages’ natural and cultural qualities.
“This is one of our Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] programmes and hopefully this initiative will be able to provide a real contribution to the economic growth of the participating villages,” Bank Indonesia Denpasar office head Jeffrey Kairupan said, adding that the bank had allocated Rp 1.3 billion (US$144,300) to finance the initiative.
Despite the island’s strong economic growth, Kairupan disclosed, the beneficial effects of the island’s growth economic had not been experienced by all layers of the community.
He pointed out that people residing in villages and working in agriculture generally had not felt the positive impacts brought by the island’s 6.54 per cent economic growth.
“This initiative is aimed at improving the level of their prosperity. Those villages have been visited by tourists but their tourism has yet to be managed in a better and effective way,” he said.
Wayan Budiarta, a community leader from Penglipuran village, said that for the initial stage of the program, the village had prepared four guest houses and six rooms for visiting tourists.
All these boarding facilities are situated in the family compounds of the local villagers. The villagers had also agreed to turn the local community hall into a restaurant.
“Previously, the tourists visited the village, went for a quick stroll and then left. Now, they could spend the night at the village and participate in various interesting activities,” he said.
Penglipuran is famous for its well-preserved traditional Balinese compounds and architecture. The village has become one of the must-see destinations in tourism packages offered by local and international travel agents.
“The activities that we have prepared for the guests range from trekking to making Balinese offerings,” he added.
Made Suwenten of Pancasari, a village of 1,300 households that is situated next to Lake Buyan, said that eight rooms had been prepared and that the village planned to prepare up to 20 rooms by next year.