Innovative Indigenous Flores Ecotourism for Sustainable Trade (INFEST) project, a joint initiative of Indonesian Ecotourism Foundation (Indecon) and its partners –Yayasan Benih Matahari and Asosiasi Pelaku Pariwisata Indonesia (ASPPI) Branch Jakarta – to develop ecotourism potentials in five selected village areas (ie. Liang Ndara, Cunca Wulang, Tado, Waerebo and Jerebu’u) as well as cities (Labuan Bajo and Bajawa) in Flores island, East Nusa Tenggara. INFEST is a 3-year project (2013-2016) co-financed by the European Union .
Started in February 2013, INFEST project showcases a successful collaboration between Civil Society Organisations with local indigenous communities, local key players as well as local government agencies. Among its tangible results and impacts achieved are:
(i) Around 1,100 participants joined training in ecotourism guiding and product development. 34 people were financed to obtain national certification on ecotourism guide. Furthermore, INFEST facilitated Ngada district to provide guide licensing for 20 more local tour guides.
(ii) more than 10 new ecotourism products in the 5 participating villages as well as 5 tour packages in Flores have been offered to tourism markets. With assistance and guidance provided during trainings, village tourism organisations have been able to establish contracts with a number of tour operators for marketing of these products.
(iii) Village tourism plan in the 5 target villages to ensure sustainability of host destinations have been produced through participatory planning process involving village communities and leaders as well as relevant local government agencies. Internal capacity of local tourism organisation in the target villages were also strengthened, particularly in the areas of administration and finance.
(iv) During its implementation, INFEST project received several awards: The traditional bamboo music (Bombardom) festival in Jerebu’u held in September 2015 has promoted the musical instruments and raised the awareness of local population about the potential of cultural preservation. The festival involved more than 500 musicians and has been awarded MURI Award 2015 for “Performance of Bombardom Music Instrument with the Largest Number of Musicians". In December 2015, Ministry of Tourism has awarded INFEST project with Citra Pesona Wisata (CIPTA) Award 2015 for its innovative approach in developing natural tourism. More recently, Yayasan Ekowisata Indonesia (Indecon) has been selected as one of the Finalists of Tourism for Tomorrow Award 2016 by the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) for Community Category. The Award appreciates the institution’s initiatives in turning around the loss of heritage, enabling many local communities to maintain their sense of place by preserving their culture and sharing it with foreign visitors. Two INFEST target villages (Waerebo and Tololela) will be particularly promoted in this year Award.
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Indecon is a non-profit organization focuses on developing and promoting ecotourism in Indonesia. Established in 1995, Indecon has been supporting and facilitating comunities, private sectors, and government to develop ecotourism.
In order to strengthen ecotourism network; Indecon established regional ecotourism forums involving many stakeholders: local government, tourism industries, and local communities.Through its national and international networks, Indecon has been able to promote ecotourism in Indonesia to international communities.