Indonesia is well known for its natural and cultural resources. These resources are then utilized to become the tourism industry. And now, not a few Indonesian people depend on the tourism sector for a living. This sector is the second largest foreign exchange contributor after palm oil.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic that hit Indonesia in early 2020 impacted the Indonesian tourism sector massively. Quoted from the official website of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (Kemenparekraf) RI, throughout 2020, the number of foreign tourists who entered Indonesia was only around 4 million people, or only 25% compared to 2019. Not only that, but the pandemic also had a direct impact on various jobs in the tourism sector. According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics in 2020, around 409,000 workers in the tourism sector lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now, the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia is getting under control. At the pandemic's peak on July 15, 2021, new cases of Covid-19 infection reached 56,757 per day. Now, new infection cases continue to decrease. Based on the data on November 3, 2021, only 801 new infection cases. Then, the Bed Occupancy Rate or BOR in hospitals in Indonesia due to patients infected with Covid-19 as of October 1, 2021, according to the government spokesperson for Covid-19 and Duta Adaptasi Kebiasaan Baru, Reisa Broto Asmoro, down to less than 10%. Some hospitals have even reported that they are no longer handling Covid-19 patients.
The government uses this conducive condition to restart tourism activities in Indonesia (restart tourism). However, this will be difficult if carried out by the government alone, so it needs to be supported by all stakeholders in Indonesia. President University (PresUniv) is taking concrete steps to support the recovery of Indonesian tourism through research activities. As an educational institution, PresUniv focuses on developing rural tourism in Indonesia, which has enormous potential but is not widely known and developed.
This village tourism research has been carried out by three lecturers of the Management Study Program, PresUniv, namely Filda Rahmiati, BBA., MBA., as the Research Head, which consists of Grace Amin, S. Psi., M.Psi., Psychologist, and Hanif Adinugroho Widyanto, SE, MM. To support the success of this research, Filda invited one of the leading figures in the tourism village from Bali, I Wayan Wardika, and a lecturer in the Business Administration Study Program, PresUniv, Felix Goenadhi, S.Psi., M.Par. This research was part of Penelitian Terapan Unggulan Perguruan Tinggi 2021, funded directly by the Ministry of Research and Technology/National Research and Innovation Agency (RISTEK-BRIN), Republic of Indonesia.
Filda and the team chose Kutu Wetan Village, Jetis, Ponorogo Regency, East Java, as a place for the research as well as to explore tourism potential in this village. “We see that this village has extraordinary cultural and historical tourism potential, but no one has researched it yet. That makes us interested in developing this tourist village in Kutu Wetan,” she said. In addition, according to her, the Surukubeng in this village, which is part of the history of Ponorogo, has the potential to be a unique attraction for the Kutu Wetan village.
This research will last for three years. Filda said that they would explore what could be tourism potential in Kutu Wetan Village for the first year. Starting on Tuesday (19/10), Filda and her team started the research process for three days. During those three days, they carried out various activities, such as meeting with the community that guarded the Surukubeng site, visiting the location, exploring the historical meaning of the place's existence, and watching the Reog Ponorogo performance from Kutu Wetan Village.
Involve Citizens Through Socialization
Not only that, but the research lecturers from PresUniv also held socialization at the Village Hall, which was attended by Kelompok Wanita Tani (KWT), Pemberdayaan Kesejahteraan Keluarga (PKK), village administration authorities, sub-district heads, and village heads. Filda said, “In this activity, we provide a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of Kutu Wetan Village. Through these activities, we hope that the citizen will realize that the village has the potential to become a tourist village.”
Filda revealed that the purpose of the socialization was to invite the community to work together with village administration authorities and the research team to develop Kutu Wetan to become a tourist village. Therefore, during the socialization, Filda and the team explained about the tourist village, which is expected to drive the economy of Kutu Wetan Village, reduce unemployment, improve the welfare of rural communities, and become productive and innovative village.
According to Filda, the response of the people of Kutu Wetan Village was very good with their research program. She said, “The overwhelming response from the village made us feel welcome to research this Kutu Wetan Village. Coincidentally, PresUniv is the first institution to research this village, so the enthusiasm of the society was very high, and the enthusiasm for developing a tourist village was great.” Filda and the team were even accompanied to visit several locations where local products are made, such as woven bags, processed food products, and others. (Silvia Desi Betrice, PR team. Photos: Filda, Lecturer of Management Study Program)