Lifuleo Village and the Savu Sea Marine National Park
Lifuleo Village is located in East Nusa Tenggara Province, about 29 km south-west of the Capital, Kupang City. This village lies within the Savu Sea Marine National Park; the largest marine park in Southeast Asia (33.553,52 km2). The area is managed with a Zoning System established by Ministerial Regulation No.06/KEPMEN-KP/2014. This regulation refers to the Savu Sea Zoning Plan and Management from 2014 to 2034. Based on the regulation, activities that are allowed, allowed with permission, and forbidden in the Utilization Zone apply to Lifuleo Village. Ecotourism is a permitted activity for the village.
Figure 1. Zoning and Boundary of Savu Sea National Park
Ecotourism in Lifuleo Village
In 2015, ecotourism was established in Lifuleo Village as a pilot project to support the National Park. Aside from environmental protection, the project provides alternative sources of income for communities within the National Park area. Ecotourism in Lifuleo Village was based on the concept of community-based ecotourism. However, in the early development stages, the local community was assisted by an NGO (Advocacy Workshop for Village Empowerment and Development/Bengkel APPEK) (the Nature Conservancy, 2018). The assistance to the Local community began in 2013 with support from the National Marine Park Agency (Balai Kawasan Konservasi Perairan Nasional) and The Nature Conservancy. The main reason for choosing Lifuleo Village as an ecotourism initiative was its location only an hour away from Kupang City.
Generally, ecotourism in Lifuleo Village is based on a village regulation (Perdes); the law used to manage ecotourism. Oesina Beach is the only spot in Lifuleo where ecotourism is managed by the local government and the local community. An ecotourism operator is established as the management authority with the task of managing the attraction, including the collection of visitor entrance fees. The entrance fee is IDR 1,000 per visitor. This revenue source is established by local regulation (Peraturan Desa Lifuleo, number 4/2016): Lifuleo Village Rules that guide and empower ecotourism management.
The ecotourism operator is called the Tourism Awareness Group (Kelompok Sadar Wisata or Pokdarwis) and is the only operator that manages ecotourism. It aims to protect the natural area and provide sustainable benefits from the natural resources including enjoyment and ‘use’ for generations to come. Pokdarwis has 40 members that come from the local communities. However, membership has decreased recently due to some members finding other work in their village. All members are residents of Lifuleo Village, so the operator represents a ‘community-based ecotourism’ initiative. Pokdarwis has a job description and obligations regulated in Articles of Association (Anggaran Dasar Pokdarwis).
The members of the Pokdarwis have been given skills training from the government and NGOs. However, it is believed that the Pokdarwis members need additional training to increase member’s ability to manage the site. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with Pokdarwis members to identify the types of training they had received and their perception of what additional training they needed to successfully manage Oesina Beach and ecotourism.
From 20 members of Pokdarwis, eight were interviewed (3 of the women and 5 of the men). The responses were tabulated (Appendix 1) and summarised (Table 1). The major areas of training were in plastic recycling and tour guiding, but for tour guiding most of interviewees indicated a need for more training (Table 1). While the need for training in environmental protection issues (safeguarding ecotourism assets and waste management) was received, most of the respondents identified the need for training that potentially diversified income flows (e.g. souvenir manufacture, local food development for sales) (Table 1).
Table 1. Summative responses to Pokdarwis member interviews
If sustainability of marine resources and ecotourism initiatives are a goal, then training might be expected to have a triple bottom line (environment [place], socio-cultural [people], and economic [profit]) balance. To be added are tourism-specific issues that relate to (1) tourism businesses that can become an alternative income source, (b) site development as a regional tourism attraction, and (c) experiential services that reflect the cultural heritage of the village community. The training provided to the Tourism Awareness Group (Pokdarwis) of Lifuleo Village has not achieved this balance, partly due to the limited training program that appears to reflect the institutional agendas and priorities of the trainers and their expertise. The training has focused on guiding and waste management with a small amount of leadership training, including a field trip to village-owned enterprises (BUMDES development). Some respondents acknowledged the usefulness of training, but a few did not. For example, the community members who received Waste Recycle Training considered it to be useless because they had difficulty in selling their recycled products.
Diversified income streams
The Lifuleo Village community acknowledges their need for tourism-related training if they are to make use of the tourism assets of Oesina Beach and Savu Sea Marine Park. There is an expectation that additional training can contribute to increasing their incomes through the use of local resources to produce value-added products such as:
- new cuisine and menus based on seaweed and fresh fish;
- the making and sale of locally made souvenirs;
- t-shirt screen printing; as well as
- tourism management training to develop ecotourism products around Air Cina.
Development of Air Cina Beach
The Lifuleo Village community has observed the aesthetic attractiveness of Air Cina Beach decline through erosion of the foreshore from weekend use beyond its physical carrying capacity. The site urgently needs (re)development to optimize use, supported by on-going effective ecotourism management. Infrastructure planning and development of the beach will probably need a multi-sector partnership between the Pokdarwis, government, the private sector and local and international NGOs if modern facilities that protect the asset and minimise maintenance cost is to be achieved. This investment could see the Lifuleo Village community trained in best practice design and management of foreshore development.
Planned training of the Lifuleo Village community with the Pokdarwis
The Lifuleo Village community has a vision that Oesina Beach could be made a benchmark for environmentally responsible, small-scale foreshore development, supported by village-owned enterprises that reflect the international value of the Savu Sea Marine National Park. Training is planned for local community groups such as fishers and fish processors who have suffered from declining catch and would benefit from livelihood activities that supplement their income. Quality control is essential to Standard Operational Procedures and infrastructure development designed for set carrying capacities. But, what should be the focus of training (?), mindful of the multiple needs and the lag time between training, developing supportive infrastructure and receiving community benefits, without over-building expectations. This training needs analysis provides immediate guidance, but a more strategic approach might be more productive.
A strategic approach to future training
Ultimately, there will be need for destination theming and marketing, and development of Oesina Beach as a regional attraction. The outcomes from the following principles and actions will inform marketing and development.
- Give priority to training that builds community capacity to: (a) deliver tourism-related products and experiences, and (b) protect and present the area’s valued environmental assets.
- Underpin all training with adult learning principles (Figure 2).
- Always assess any training proposal by asking:
(a) who will benefit (consider social equity),
(b) when will the training be applied,
(c) does it contribute significantly to the agreed vision,
(d) does it contribute to community well-being, and environmental asset protection and presentation, and by when?
- Plan with the community, for the community and protection of the marine and coastal assets.
- Maximise opportunities for learning while doing.
- Undertake a community-based scan of possible and compatible tourism products and services short (1-2 years), medium (5-years) and longer term (8-years). This should include marine-based tourism activities and services.
- Detail the vision for Oesina Beach with all five levels of government by asking:
(a) what will Oesina Beach be like in 10-years’ time with no investment, and
(b) what do the groups want it to be like?.
- Make SMART objectives for implementing all training related decisions and as an output from training
- Gain commitment to community involvement in all projects, including investments of ‘sweat money’ and time.
Undertake a community skills assessment and desired roles in tourism to inform training priorities.
Author : Lenni Maretta Sitinjak
Balai Kawasan Konservasi Perairan Nasional Kupang 06 April 2022 Dilihat : 200