Yogyakarta is one of the leading cultural centres in Java, and it is blessed with beautiful villages.
Therefore, the regional and provincial governments should develop the rural tourism sector to attract as many tourists as possible.
According to Widi Utaminingsih, chief of the Widya Budaya Foundation, the rural tourism sector, together with other tourist spots in Yogyakarta, enhance a tourist's overall experience.
"Every rural tourist spot in Yogyakarta has its own culture and tradition, and it is blessed with natural beauty that is unique," said Widi.
She noted that the Widya Budaya Foundation is concerned about the tourism sector and cultural development in the region.
She added that every rural tourist spot has agricultural fields, animal farms and cultural attractions that can be developed to attract tourists.
Widi said that there are at least 50 villages in Yogyakarta that can be developed into rural tourist spots.
"Ideally, a tourism village should have local elements so that tourists have a unique experience," Widi said, adding that the local character of a tourism village should be reflected in its accommodation and transportation facilities, as well as in the presentation of historical information.
For a village to remain a tourist destination, she added that the people managing the village should improve the services.
"A tourism village should provide details about the history of the village, making the whole experience more educational, Widi continued.
She said that tourists should be impressed during their visit to a tourism village so that the experience remains etched in their minds, and stays with them even after they return home.
Popular tourism villages in the Yogyakarta province are Sleman, Kulonprogro, Bantul, the Yogyakarta city and Gunungkidul.
Meanwhile, Syarief Armunanto, spokesman for the Gunungkidul Regional Development Planning Board, said that the local government should continue to promote and develop the district`s tourist spots under the framework of the tourism investment development mission.
"The tourism investment development mission focuses on natural tourism, village tourism and cultural tourism," said Syaries.
According to him, the Gunungkidul district government should work hard to improve the infrastructure in the district.
He noted that Gunungkidul has many natural tourist spots, such as the Ngrancah waterfalls in Ngleri village, along with the pristine beaches of Gesing, Ngrenehan, Ngobaran, Baron, Krakal, Sunduk, Watu Lawang, Drini and Sepanjang.
"In 2013, we will build and renovate various facilities such as souvenir shops and restaurants," Syarief said, adding that the district has many interesting tourism villages as well.
Some of the popular tourism villages in Gunung Kidul are Putat, Nglanggeran, Bendung, Ngeposari, Beji, Bleberan, Umbulrejo and Kemadang.
"The Gunung Kidul Culture and Tourism office will provide English language classes and tourism management lessons to the villagers," Syarief explained.
He noted that the district has numerous cultural tourist spots in Gunung Gambar and Wonokobaran.
In fact, the tourism village of Karangtengah has received an award from the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy this year.
"The tourism village of Karangtengah received an award from the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. It was one of the 10 tourism villages nominated for this award," said Jumadi Sunardi Prasetyo, an official of the village.
According to him, the village received the award as it had developed an area to grow silkworm plants, which in turn benefitted the locals.
Jumadi noted that the award has motivated the local community to maintain and improve tourism development in the village.
He added that the village is focusing on the development of natural silkworm cultivation through the Catur Makaryo Farmers Group.
In Sleman, the local community is working hard to develop tourism villages in the district.
"The persistence and the spirit of the villagers have contributed to the progress of tourism villages in Sleman, said Untoro Budiharjo, spokesman for the local culture and tourism office.
He noted that the development of tourism villages in the district is based on the principle - from the people, by the people and for the people.
In tourism villages, the traditions and the culture of the local community continue to remain untouched by globalisation.
To develop the rural tourism sector, the local communities have to improve the infrastructure including transportation, medical services, accommodation and telecommunications.
For the rural tourism sector to become popular at an international level, the chief of the Widya Budaya Foundation has urged the managers of tourism villages to use digital media tools to promote their villages.
"Promoting a village using digital media tools is impactful because the information can be accessed by anyone, from any part of the world," Widi noted.
According to her, the promotion of tourism villages using digital media tools is inexpensive.
"By promoting rural tourism using digital media tools, the number of visitors to tourism villages can increase significantly," she noted. (Antara)