By : Ernawati
The number of special interest tourists around the world is growing, this is specifically the tourists who concern about environment conservation. The awareness of the people on environment conservation causing the demand of green tourism growing. To respond the trend, many countries choose to develop Community Based Tourism (CBT) with the purpose of improving the prosperity and the living standard of their people. This is the justification of CBT has become a latest trend in Tourism Industry. The developing agent which is usually the government, does not only expect to share the multiplier effect of the tourists’ spending but also for the community development. Knowing that their every day existence will be shared with other people, it is expected that the indigenous community will be motivated to improve within the frame of their culture, also to reserve sites, and the environment.
Bali is one of the provinces in Indonesia, It has 8 regencies and more than 700 villages. Bali is a tropical island with beautiful beaches, landscapes, rich in culture, tradition and ritual based on Hindu Religion. Every village is unique, currently there are at least 9 villages that had been developed as tourist areas, these include: Ubud, Tenganan, Tanah Lot, Candi Dasa, Lovina, Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua, Panglipuran.
Bali is a favorite tourist destination in the world with the approximate-average tourist arrivals of 1.3 million per year, with tourists spending pattern: Accommodation 43,7 %, Food 21,8%, Souvenirs 17,5%, Sight seeing 6,4%, public transport 4% (BTA, 2005). There are two types of tourists in Bali : 1). the ’package-tour group high-spending tourists’, 2). ‘individual low-spending tourists (TED, 2005). The first one is the mass tourism that spend most of the expenditure on accommodation, of which a lot of the currency are leaking since the owners of the luxurious hotels are mostly foreign investors.
The villages in Bali is an independent unit, apart from the regional government extension, the village also has its own traditional management structure where the tradition, religious activities is managed. Every village in Bali is unique, there are variation in ritual and ceremonies even though it is based on the same religion – Hindu, Other than working as services providers and as public servants, the main occupation of the people are craftsmen, farmers, who tend their rice field or dry land farming growing clove, coconut, vanilla, etc. They live simple life. The environment in the village is still original; fresh air, beautiful scenery, and landscape.
In the year of 1970’s Bali Tourism Development Plan which was designed by SCETO (A French Consultant Consortium supported by UNDP) was focused on the development of 3 tourist resorts, these are: Nusa Dua, Kuta and Sanur. After a few years of development Balinese People whose unique culture attracts the tourists, became aware that such kind of development bring about very little contribution to the people of Bali. People think that tourism should be for Balinese People. Since then almost every village is interested in becoming a tourist place.
Observing this tendency the government encourages the people and chooses developing villages as a CBT, as one of the ways for rural development, however exposing the innocence village people to foreign culture and people involving some risks to take. To be able to minimize the possible negative impact, a careful consideration of every tourism aspect need to be made beforehand.
Development planning is critical before any tourism activities occurring in any destination, of which the government, development consultants, society watch organizations and figures are quite aware of, in order to maximize the tourism activities gain and minimalise the negative impact. The planning and preparation are especially important when involving indigenous and usually innocence people of the villages. However this research will not address a wide perspective of a destination development, it is rather taking a focus point that is the aspect of CBT product which is related to the consumers - the special interest tourist.
Taking a perspective that the market niche of CBT is interested in the nature conservation, authenticity and the uniqueness of a certain place, to see and experience something different from what they experience in their every day life. The situation will give the opportunity to compare and to reflect, and is expected to value every life situation encountered.
There are 2 sides of expectations toward CBT product, at one hand there is the element of originality that attracts the tourists to come, and on the other hand there is the expectation of improvement and change in the place and the indigenous people in order to develop or as a part of natural evolution. It is unarguable that the common marketing practice observes the basic principle of selling products that satisfy the customers, with this situation there should be a ‘compromise point’ to what extend a CBT products could change in order to maintain the customer satisfaction and most of all for the indigenous community to retain its existence and develop as well.
The changing of the village and the people in their existence because of tourism or as a part of natural mechanism - the evolution, and the tourists wanting the village to change in certain aspect or remain the same to satisfy their need is a critical matter. It is a fact that tourists can not change the area and the people directly, the changing agent is the community. The ideal is to preserve the culture, the tradition, and the physical existence while at the same time embrace to opportunity to develop, as well as satisfying the needs of the special interest tourists.
Experts argue that Community Based Tourism is a Tourism Management model that attempts to minimalise the negative tourism impact upon the nature and the local culture while creating positive economical impact. Since the people live around the tourism site or the people is actually a part of the site, the CBT concept favored the management of tourism is conducted by the local people themselves. These include the whole management of tourism on the site, and providing all the services required by the guests. In that way it is possible to maximize the tourism benefit for the local people, placing them not only as the object of tourism but as the subject as well.
There are some other kind of tourism managements that experts (Wearing and Neil, 2003) have formulated with the orientation of conservation. The umbrella definition is Sustainable Tourism, of which CBT is included. Eco-Tourism, Responsible Tourism, and Green Tourism are specifically addressed the issue of environment. Some definitions are quoted below.
Getways defines Sustainable tourism in its purest sense, it is an industry which attempts to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate income, employment, and the conservation of local ecosystems. It is a responsible tourism that is both ecologically and culturally sensitive (Getaways.htm, 21/12/09).
The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as tourism that leads to the management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems.
Getaway also puts forward a definition that take a balance view between the local people and the tourists, sustainable tourism is defined as a process which meets the needs of the present tourists and host communities whilst protecting and enhancing needs in the future
The last definition emphasizes the meeting of the customers needs which is the basic business orientation, on the top of green oriented tourism.
The implementation of CBT at the aspect of business is utilizing product components that are environmentally friendly such as: less carbon emission by using ship instead of airplane, bicycles for close range transportation, conservation to rare species of animals and plants, non conversion of land use, less plastic materials and observing the carrying capacity of the premises. The emphasize of CBT compares to the others sustainable tourism models is the management and product components: as much as possible is provided by the local community to build up their economic condition, the services include: accommodation, local guide, foods and other tourism services are served by the local people.
At the tourists side, levying the environment friendly codes of conduct such as 9 points of United Nation Version, for the purpose of environment protection and sustainability is an obligation. And sustainable tourism is always concern about the tourists not being handled by environmentally concerned operators but mass tourism operators with little understanding and concern to the environment. This is a strong reason that CBT is a solution to tourism management in villages.
Product and market are 2 phenomena that can not be separated, successful businesses have their products oriented to their customers. The orientation is reflected in all of their business activities, specifically in the production and marketing activities. As it is formulated by Wearing and Neil (2000), marketing is defined as the development of products/services which are consistent with clients needs, pricing, promoting and distributing these products/services effectively. Creating products that meet the needs and wants of the customers is a focal point for a business for success.
Experts see product from different views. Phylip Kotler defines product as something that is offered to market to be observed, owned or consumed so that they can satisfy the needs and wants of the customers. While tourism sees product as the tourists’ experience. Morison (2002) defines Product as assortment of services and goods that are provided to customers. The mix consist of :
- Staff behavior, appearance and uniform
- Building exteriors
- Furniture and fixtures
- Communication with customers and other public
A necessary element required is goods in addition to the above elements.
Further more in product development, Kotler view product in 3 levels, these are:
- Core Product is in fact ‘a solution’ of a customers’ problem.
- Tangible aspect is the things that are actually received by the customers.
- Product added value is the element of ‘above expectation’ of the customers.
CBT products can be seen from Kotler’s tree levels of product element, and also since the product of CBT consist of the packaging of natural environment and indigenous culture, the change of the CBT product could be viewed from the element of Physical environment, economical and socio-cultural. Focusing on the aspect of culture as it is defined by Koencara Ningrat (2000), culture is defined as the total of human thinking, labor and labor results that is obtained by learning instead of instinct. He further more explained about the universal elements of culture of which regardless of the society type; modern in the cities or traditional in the villages the elements are always exist, these include:
- Religious system
- Society organizational structure
- Technology and equipment
For a CBT management, it is important to understand the market in order to be able to meet their needs, and at the same time taking precautions in product development considering the nature characteristic of the CBT product. The visitors of a CBT is special interest tourists. Special interest tourist is estimated about 15 % of the total international travelers (Goodall, 1995). The CBT Tourists are the people who are interested in learning about specific ecosystem or wildlife, experiencing indigenous life, they may be adventurous people or taking interest in volunteering in providing assistance to the indigenous people.
Different experts (Wearing and Neil, 2003) discovered various characteristic on SIT (Special Interest Tourists). Eagles (1992) explained that SIT are interested in nature and enjoy personal development through physical activities, experience new and simpler life style, meeting people of similar interests, seeing cultural activities, and buying local craft. SIT’s are the people who like to travel in smaller group and personalized service (Duff, 1993). They are outdoor enthusiasts, like to travel as couple or individuals, are frequent and experienced travelers (William,1990; Weight,1996; Boo,1991). Furthermore Boo explained, they are generally more accepting of conditions different from those luxurious travelers, they enjoy living like local people, sampling local customs and food, having strong science orientation. The are interested in study and learning. Further Eagles found out that SITs from Canada are interested in tropical forests, birds, lakes, streams, trees, wild flowers, mammals, mountains and oceans.
The need and attitudes of special interest tourist (SIT) is different from the mass tourists. The characteristic of SIT are: The age range is 20 - 40 or 50 plus, the income range $37000 - $60000, generally having tertiary education, the gender are spread equally, and the country of origin are USA, Canada, Germany, Sweden and Australia ( Wearing Neil, 2000). They usually travel as couple (61%), family (15%) and singles (13%). The World Wildlife Fund research (1990) found out that the SIT are high spenders approximately 8.5% higher than mass tourism. Furthermore it is described 8 psychographic characteristics of SIT:
- Possession of environment ethic.
- Willingness not to degrade the resources.
- Focus on intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation.
- Biometric rather than anthropocentric in orientation.
- Aiming to benefit wildlife and the environment.
- Striving for first hand experience with the natural environment.
- Possessing an expectation of education an appreciation.
- High cognitive and affective dimensions (Balantine and Eagles, 1994).
The above is the explanation of the characteristic of the real sustainable tourists, it is important to recognize the characteristic of the visitors of a CBT, whether the are the real or the fake. As personal development is the aim, sometimes the SITs are also not fully aware of the total concept of sustainable tourism. This is the situation that need to be anticipated in meeting the need of SITs who are still developing themselves toward total awareness, their needs may be in variation, it is important for CBT to meet these needs while still comply with the nature of CBT product of being authentic.
Taking consideration of Koentjara Ningrat’s Culture Concept, it is important for CBT Managers to evaluate which aspects of culture can be changed and which one should not be changed in order to be able to provide products that satisfy customers but still reserve the best benefit for the CBT destination.
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