Aman Rochman, Malang, East Java – Improving a region's tourism potential may lead to better sanitation for residents, an advocacy group said during a discussion in Malang, East Java, on Aug. 8.
The talk was part of an event organized by the Alliance of Regencies and Municipalities with Sanitation Awareness (AKKOPSI) and Advocacy Horizontal Learning (AHL) attended by 492 regional leaders from across the country.
It was held in tourism village Pujon Kidul, a self-declared "selfie destination" for vacationers that is supported by clean toilets.
Village head Udi Hartoko said in May as quoted by Finance Ministry's website that Pujon Kidul earned Rp 1.3 billion (US$91,400) in revenue a year, up from Rp 30 million to 40 million before the village was turned into a tourist destination.
According to AKKOPSI head Syarif Fasha, many regional leaders have no interest in improving the sanitation standards in their area.
"Funding for [sanitation improvement] is usually very minimal, only 5 percent of the regional budget each year. Meanwhile, installing decent sanitation facilities requires at least Rp 3 million per house," said Syarif, who is also the mayor of Jambi.
"Therefore, we are cooperating with the Tourism Ministry to help regional governments improve tourism and sanitation," he said.
He added that optimizing a region's tourism potential may benefit residents financially while also encouraging local governments to build a standardized sanitation system to cater to tourists.
Reza Fahlevi, deputy assistant for Tourism Development II at the Tourism Ministry, said that one of the most important requirements for developing tourist destinations was a hygienic sanitation system.
Indonesia ranks 134th in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI).
"Therefore, we encourage the government to increase guidance, supervision and law enforcement in the development of tourist destinations," he said, adding that regional governments should work to improve their respective environment impact analyses (AMDAL), sanitation services and healthy irrigation systems.
"We are working together to boost our tourism potential," he said. (gis)