Empowered by new management skills, novice event organizers turbocharge launch of new tourism spot

The ILO-UK programme is equipping coastal villagers in Indonesia with knowledge, skills and tools to help them capitalize on emerging tourism opportunities.

News | 02 December 2021
Roy Saladi greets visitors at an eco-friendly mangrove trail in Tiwoho Village.©ILO
A new scenic eco-friendly mangrove trail in a coastal village in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi Province has drawn attention from many—including that of Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, who supported the initiative in person—and shown its business potential, thanks to the launch of the trail in October 2021 by novice event organizers – a group of about 30 villagers including youth.

From producing and showing a video about the trail to conducting live reporting at the launch, these villagers have introduced the 200-metre-long elevated mangrove trail to the world, offering it as a new tourist destination in North Sulawesi, the province famous for maritime tourism and home to Bunaken National Park, the most well-known diving spot in Indonesia.

Roy Saladi, a 32-year-old former worker at a local travel agent is among the organizers. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the tourism industry hard, and Roy was laid off.

“None of us had experience in organizing an event, let alone launching a high-level event [like this one],” said Roy, who is also the chairman of a youth group in Tiwoho village.

We are now able to increase our income from ticketing up to 500%."

Roy Saladi, Chairman of a youth group in Indonesia's Tiwoho Village
The launch, which took place at the village and via Zoom, is a product of their weeks-long preparation using knowledge, skills and tools they acquired from a festival management workshop held and facilitated a month earlier by the Skills for Prosperity Programme in Indonesia (SfP-Indonesia) – an initiative implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and funded by the United Kingdom government.

During the four-day training, they were equipped with event management skills and worked on generating festival ideas, defining the event concept, selecting committees, budgeting, developing a sponsorship proposal and ensuring that every operation detail was taken care of.

“I cannot believe that we finally made it!” he added. “This event provided us with an opportunity to learn and proved that we can do something beyond the usual. It boosts our confidence to many levels higher than before.”

For Roy, the trail has not only brought income to the village but also positive change.

“Before the pandemic, young people in our village lived an improper life. Many of them were unemployed and maintained bad habits such as getting drunk, smoking, game addiction and others,” said Roy.

“When I took over the youth community, my vision was to create activities that can generate income for them,” Roy explained. “We are now able to increase our income from ticketing up to 500%. We are also able to run a café as another source of income.”

Tiwoho Village is located in in North Minahasa District.

The village administration has disbursed more than IDR 75 million (approximately US$ 5,262) of village funds for the construction of the trail. The rest came from the local community’s contributions.

Managed by the youth community and the village enterprise or Bumdes, the trail offers visitors an ecotourism experience that allows them to enjoy the mangrove forest, watch the sunset from the hill and pump up their adrenaline with paragliding.

The launch saw the virtual participation of high-level figures including Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, international figures and members of the British Embassy in Jakarta as well as the Regent of North Minahasa. More than 30 participants attended offline and another 126 accounts joined the event online.

I hope the opening of the mangrove trail in Tiwoho Village can be an example of ecotourism implementation in Indonesia."

Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy
Mr Uno praised the eco-friendliness of the trail, which is built from wood and bamboo.

“This ecotourism [spot] will be a new attractive destination as it is in line with the trend of the sustainability lifestyle while generating income for the local community,” said the minister.

“I hope the opening of the mangrove trail in Tiwoho Village can be an example of ecotourism implementation in Indonesia,” said Mr Uno.

The festival management workshop is part of a series of training events on local economic development facilitated by SfP-Indonesia since November 2020, with support from local partners. These include training sessions on financial education, village enterprise, green business, homestay management and festival management provided for Tiwoho and Budo villagers as well as local students and academics. The development of the trail is a follow-up initiative after the training.

The local economic development work is part of SFP-Indonesia’s larger effort to enhance skills development and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) systems in Indonesia.

Mary Kent, SfP-Indonesia Chief Technical Advisor said: “The programme in Tiwoho Village is working in a unique way to develop skills for employment, stimulate enterprises and create decent jobs in tourism. We will continue to support with further training on sustainable product development”