West Papua has lucrative opportunities for Indonesia’s tourism sector. You can find various tours, such as Raja Ampat, Cenderawasih Bay, Triton Bay, etc. Despite the vast tourism potential, Papua still struggles in poverty due to slow economic growth. Therefore, the government seeks to increase the tourism sector massively.
Understanding the Tourism in Papua
The government is trying to assess how the tourism sector in Papua can develop properly. It includes accommodation and the use of local and human resources in Papua. Evaluation of tourism strategies can also accelerate regional development well. In addition, the accommodation sector and tourism are also interconnected with each other to the Papuan economy.
The linkage of accommodation in Papua cannot be separated from the number of tourist destinations in Papua. There are about 152 tourist attractions based on natural and cultural attractions. In terms of Tourism statistics, visitors prefer to travel for leisure and partly for business travelers. It includes domestic and international visitors who come to Papua.
Many people spend their trips in Papua with short trips. This extended stay is likely due to the remote tourism area and lack of access. As a result, the accommodation sector benefits significantly if built in the right spot. It allows visitors to spend time in West Papua worry-free for a holiday or business trip.
Accommodations in Papua
There are many regional accommodations available in Papua with the division of several classifications, namely 3-star, 2-star, 1-star, and non-star. Due to the increasing number of tourist visits in recent years, the total accommodation in Papua has also doubled. It provides new job opportunities – part-time, contract, permanent, etc.
Accommodation in Papua is increasing due to tourists who come to this area. In addition, due to the area’s remoteness and access to flights and shipping, day trips are impossible. For this reason, accommodation in Papua continues to be significantly improved. It also impacts the surrounding economy, which continues to increase.
Local Resources Use in the Regional Accommodation Sector
Tourism in Papua has an impact on the regional economy. It cannot be separated from the contribution of the accommodation sector to the economy in terms of output, income, added value, and employment opportunities. The remote islands are vulnerable in terms of resource availability and variety. As a result, they rely on the resources of the island significantly,
The accommodation sector is needed to meet tourism demand in West Papua. The increase in visitors drives the demand for food, drinks, and others (e.g., rice). This material can only be supplied in a limited capacity within the country due to Papua’s lack of agricultural land. In addition, this area only relies on fish, animals, and sago as a staple food.
Although the demand for accommodation and food is increasing in Papua, the local food supply has not increased. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how much local income is from tourism; as long as the need to go outside the region remains high, tourism’s contribution to regional economic growth is still low.
Meanwhile, about 90% of input commodities for regional accommodation are supplied from other regions in Indonesia for furniture needs. Unfortunately, there are leaks arising from recreational or entertainment retail activities that make accommodations provided from overseas instead of from West Papua.
Accommodations that are classified (starred) mostly get their daily staples from outsourcing agents or third parties. Very few get their everyday products independently. Therefore, although the effects are obtained from traditional regional markets, in fact, most of the products such as vegetables and fruits are imported from other regions.
Challenges, Opportunities, and the Impact on Papua Economy
The economic disparity between Indigenous Papuans and the settlers often creates debate. Some indigenous people say that tourism economic development releases the rights of Papuan indigenous peoples to ancestral lands. These are challenges in the tourism sector through growth in the accommodation sector. But this tourism sector provides an opportunity to create jobs.
However, from the data obtained, it is found that the current involvement of Papuan indigenous peoples in the accommodation sector is still under-represented. It is due to the lack of basic knowledge and skills regarding tourism and hospitality. In other words, workers in the accommodation sector are still dominated by workers from outside the island of Papua.
The high number of tourist arrivals to West Papua indicates a sizable income in the economic sector. Reportedly, Papua’s domestic visitors amounted to 410 billion rupiahs from transportation, groceries, food services, and accommodation. This amount is mostly obtained from the additional output, such as accommodation, fisheries, retail, and groceries.
Overall, the contribution of the tourism and accommodation sector to the economic development of the Papua region shows a large number. It also illustrates the involvement of local commodities, human resources, and the role of indigenous Papuans. In order for the process of improving the economy to be better, an influential government contribution is needed.