YOGYAKARTA - Tourism is the largest service industry in the world that absorbed the majority of the labor force in 2010. In fact, in some countries, tourism became the main source of income. This was announced by tourism expert, Alistair G. Speirs, in the discussion 'Heritage Tourism and Creative Economy', at the WISDOM 2010 event, at the Sonobudoyo Museum on Tuesday (7/12). The discussion was joined by speakers Diah Ariani Arimbi, Ph.D. from the University of Airlangga, Elmustian Rahman of the University of Riau, Joseph Herudjiati Purwoko, Ph.D. from the Faculty of Humanities University of Diponegoro, Bali Film Director, Deborah Gabinetti, and researchers from IPB, Dr. Ir. Nurhayati H.S. Arifin.
According to Alistair, the growth of tourism industry is due to the increasing number of museums and various kinds of cultural heritage tourism. He also suggested each region to maintain the heritage property as a tourist attraction. "Most tourists will spend more time to enjoy the experience of visiting the various cultural heritages," he said.
Alistair mentioned one of the destinations that has been equipped with excellent quality, among others, the Borobudur temple and Bali. "Borobudur provides memorable experiences for visitors, while Bali has a remarkable appeal," said the founder of Phoenix Communications.
Bali and Borobudur, according to Alistair, are two of the 115 places most frequently visited by tourists in the world. Another location is Chang Mai, Thailand, the Great Wall, China, Hue-Vietnam, Kyoto- Japan, and Rajasthan-India. In his opinion, there are many other cultural heritages that can be promoted to tourists. However, more importantly is how to make a tour package as an alternative for tourism destination. He pointed out that Singapore has no cultural heritage, but offers modern shopping tour packages. And Thailand offers a learn and vacation package through the 'Amazing Thailand'.
Tourism observer from the University of Udayana, Bali, Prof. Dr. I Wayan Ardika, M.A, presented that the development of heritage tourism should be followed by an increase in the economic creativity of local communities. He mentioned the development of heritage tourism in the Tenganan Pegeringsingan area, Bali, that raised the cultural traditions and symbols of local identity. "Things to offer are, for example, geringsing cultural rituals, geringsing woven fabric, and writing manuscripts on palm leaves," he added.
Nevertheless, the development of tourism in Tangenan still gives negative impact of the attractions area expansion. Local government and tourism industry, according to Wayan Ardika, should give attention and understanding to local communities to minimize negative impacts due to the entrance of foreign cultures and environmental damage that they cause. "This is so the development of tourism industry can be made sustainable," he said.