The development of tourism from year to year has made significant progress, especially in West Papua. It is beneficial for the economy of the residents around tourism and the Indonesian people. In this case, you can find it in Raja Ampat with its spectacular marine charm. How is the development of tourism in this area? Read the following explanation.
Tourism in Raja Ampat
1. Wayag Islands
One of the iconic islands in Raja Ampat is Wayag Island. The island is directly adjacent to the Seram Sea or close to the wide-open sea. This strategic location makes it a pathway for large animals rarely found in other Indonesian waters, such as whales and octopuses. The seawater on this island is turquoise green with a panoramic view of fine white sand.
Meanwhile, the surrounding environment is filled with green mangroves and tropical forests. The natural atmosphere that is still fresh and beautiful provides an opportunity for tourists to have exciting activities. You can do various exciting activities, such as diving, swimming, snorkeling, or relaxing to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery.
2. Batanta Island
Next, there is the island of Batanta, which is in the interior of the mangrove forest with a view of the waterfall in West Papua. Not far from the waterfall location, there is a small cave that five people can only enter. Meanwhile, you can also find the tourist villages of Marandanweser and Waiweser to stay or experience the authentic life of the local community.
3. Salawati Island
Salawati Island is the right choice if you want a quieter tour because it is too crowded and nature is still pristine. This island has a long history. It could be said that the island of Salawati was a silent witness to the occurrence of World War II. As a result, you can find relics of the Dutch and Japanese bunkers. Another attraction is the salawati rainbow fish which is only available on this island.
4. Wigeo Island
Wigeo Island, also known as Amberi is the most accessible location to reach by public transportation. This island has several natural beauties, such as beautiful diving locations, beautiful bays with towering cliff walls, and clear water. In addition, Waigeo Island in West Papua also has a vast jungle with a spectacular view.
Ecotourism Development in Raja Ampat
The tourism potential in Raja Ampat is vast and tempting. As a result, it develops ecotourism potential. However, what exactly is the term Ecotourism? It is one way or a trip to places that are still natural. Its primary purpose is to study, admire, enjoy the landscape, flora, fauna, and forms of cultural manifestation.
As a development, ecotourism has become a responsible natural tourism activity to preserve the environment while improving the welfare of the local population. So, ecotourism will protect natural and cultural resources and generate economic benefits for local communities in Papua.
Principles of Coastal and Marine Ecotourism Development in Raja Ampat
Ecotourism development can ensure the sustainability of Papua’s coastal and marine ecosystems. It is one of the requirements for developing ecotourism to run optimally. However, there are several main ecotourism development principles. Some of them are preventing and overcoming the impact of tourist activities on the surrounding natural conditions.
Second, educating or sensitizing tourists and local communities about the importance of conservation for the surrounding nature in West Papua. The third principle is to regulate that ecotourism areas have sustainable management to earn income. Not to forget, the community must be actively involved in planning and developing ecotourism.
By carrying out various ecotourism activities, real economic benefits can be obtained to maintain and preserve coastal and marine areas. This ecotourism program is beneficial in maintaining the harmony of nature with the surrounding community. In other words, a program in the form of community-based ecotourism can explore tourism potential in Raja Ampat.
The community-based ecotourism pattern allows the full involvement of the local community in all tourism business activities. It consists of planning, implementing, and managing tourism to gain significant benefits. The community plays an important role in developing tourism in Raja Ampat. It is because knowledge of nature and culture is a selling point for tourists.
The long-term benefit of involving the community is that it creates job opportunities for the local community. As a result, it reduces poverty, increases ecotourism income, etc. In addition, this program can provide tourist services for visitors such as lodging, transportation, selling souvenirs, fees, tour guide, etc.
Ecotourism and Conservation in Papua
Since the 1970s, conservation organizations have begun to see the lucrative potential of ecotourism as an economical alternative in West Papua. Ecotourism is considered an environmentally and economically sustainable business for the people living around the conservation area. So, people in the Raja Ampat Papua region can be more advanced in the economy.
Overall, in applying ecotourism, the government needs to play a role so that the community is given the authority to manage ecotourism businesses. Effective conservation strategies can open up economic alternatives for communities to take advantage of the original natural beauty, culture, and local history without destroying it.