Photography: Raising Local Tourism Potential



The fact that Indonesia is a rich country, abundant with its natural resources, natural biodiversity and culture is something that I personally believe anyone can vouch for. However, every time Indonesian tourism is touched upon, Bali is the most likely number one place anyone could possibly think of, especially for non-Indonesian tourists/travelers. As the most largest archipelago in the world, stretches from the farthest east of the city of Sabang to the farthest west of the city of Merauke, Indonesia contains a great potential in the tourism sector and yet it has failed in attracting people to come here. We, compared to our neighboring nations, had fallen behind.

Considering the variety of Indonesia nature scenery, it is not unlikely that local tourism could thrive and contribute to our national GDP. Compared to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand who manage to raise their economy growth through tourism and has successfully developed a significant growth in tourism sector, so the question I've been asking myself is

"Why do we fall behind? Could we race with them?"

There must be hundreds of possible answers to this. Ever since the Bali bombing over than a decade a go, we're crawling to restore our tourism industry. Not to mention the following numbers of large bombing attacks. Many foreign countries issued subsequent travel warnings, an alarm to their citizen about traveling to Indonesia that there might be an imminent danger. It could also be because of the weak programs of our Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry. And It could also be something else. If only we could find the problem and solve the equation. However, we could start from little things to contribute to better our tourism. Greater things are made of tiny little parts before they unite as whole. 

Nowadays, we live in an era in which the internet and social media play a huge role in delivering news and trends. As a crucial mean of communication, people spend more time on the internet than they used to. Facebook, Twitter or Instagram has become an identity of one individual and in a large scale an identity of our society today. It's a lot easier to access news, stories and gossips from all given social media.

"How does it have things to do with our tourism?"

I started on Instagram several years a go but I wasn't the avid one. There was a long pause of about two years and around the beginning of 2015 I have become a full time Instagrammer. I have visited several places but mostly the most visited tourist attractions. My sister suggested me to browsing through the Instagram page and see if I find something worth following. And I did. I followed tens of wonderful accounts. Mostly traveling. They're not all professional photographers but they produce an equal stunning images. So, from that day on, I primarily (if not solely) use Instagram as my travel bible.

Is this only happening to me?

No, it is not. I think people are also influenced by what they see on their friend's feed. People are 'competing' to go to the 'must-visit' places or even find new places or spot where not many people have been or heard of. Tebing Keraton is one of many places that turned into a famous spot for Instagrammers, an everyone's spot.

This, of course, gives a positive benefit to the local people who live around the tourist destination. And over time several big accounts have emerged, highlighting the most wonderful spot all over the nation.

So, how do we help our tourism?

I would give you two answers:
1. Be a responsible, earth lover traveler.

You don't have to be affiliated with any nature society to be responsible. The only reason you decided to visit a place is to spend a wonderful relaxing time and to enjoy the beauty of the place you're planning to visit. IF you leave your unused and remaining stuff in those places, thinking that it was ONLY a plastic bag or a can or a cigarette butt, that maybe the ground will decompose some of them or the rain will wash it away to the ocean or maybe there are caretakers who will make the place clean. Imagine if in a group of 5, at least 2 person share the same thoughts and there are 30 groups in a day which makes at least 60 of them will leave their trash on site. Can you calculate for a month, a year?

The fact is, we don't have caretakers to clean up our mess, we don't wait for the nature run its course because when it does, it ends very badly. Can you picture yourself going to Gili Lawa which used to be beautiful but in 2 years the land is covered with trash, mo grass but cigarette butts, not coral life but bottles and cans?

2. Snap a picture or make a video.

Pictures and/or videos are the best way to psychologically persuade people, especially if you are an exceptional photographer. Some pictures I saw on Instagram had made me actually go to visit. And maybe it happened to you too. Just by seeing a picture of your friend in Ora Beach or Wae Rebo village, you're under the magical influence and weeks later you're making an itinerary to go there. How powerful is that!?

Below is wonderful video by Ardian Prananto portraying the beauty of Lombok.

1. Pictures with Journesia stamp are of intellectual property of their rightful owners.
2. Picture of a labyrinth park in Malang is taken by Suta Rahady.