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Promoting Village-Based Eco-Tourism in Dukuh, Kubu, Karangasem Regency

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Dukuh is located in the Karangasem Regency and is sandwiched between two popular tourist destinations of Bali- to its east is Tulamben, where divers frequent to visit the USAT Liberty shipwreck, and to its west is Mt. Agung, the highest mountain in Bali. Dukuh is surrounded by pristine environment of trees and mountains. The land environment of Dukuh is promoted alongside the ocean environment of its popular counterpart, Tulamben, to abide by the Balinese philosophy of Nyegara Gunung, simultaneously ensuring the ridge-to-reef area is effectively conserved. Nyegara Gunung (Ridge to Reef) is a philosophy that draws linkages between the mountains and the seas, where the belief is that activities conducted in the mountains will affect the seas, and vice versa.

Dukuh is strategically located between two major tourist destinations in Bali. Additionally, Dukuh’s villagers produce various products organically and would serve as interesting experiences for visitors to go through. Due to Dukuh’s strength in its strategic location, there is an opportunity to capitalize on the existing tourist traffic in the area and to direct them to Dukuh. The fact that such activities cannot be easily accessed by tourists in Bali also serves as an immense opportunity for Dukuh village.

The Dukuh tour can include 4 main activities as demonstrated in the Gunung dan Hutan Adalah Kita event.

  1. Arak Processing

Participants will understand the process behind producing Arak, a Balinese liquor distilled from Tuak.

2. Gembrang Making

Gembrang is commonly used as a handicraft material, especially in the hair of Rangda, the demon queen in traditional Balinese mythology. It takes the form of a string of threads and is weaved from the fiber of Gebang leaves. Participants can try their hand at extracting the fiber of Gebang leaves to make Gembrang.

3.  Cashew Processing

Participants will learn how the villagers process cashews for consumption and even try to de-shell the cashew nuts using a simple machine.

4. Palm Sugar Making

Participants will understand how palm sugar is produced from palm trees and get to taste and purchase them in the woven Lontar leaves.

The lack of English-speaking villagers in Dukuh would render it a challenge to host tourists on guided tours. However, this could be combated by providing English materials such as fact sheets explaining the tours. Basic English would still be required to communicate with tourists, however this could be picked up over the years. In-depth details could be explained to tourists through the fact sheets, which they can also take with them and possibly share with other people to spark curiosity and generate word-of-mouth recommendations.

The Gunung dan Hutan adalah Kita event held on 30 June 2018 has demonstrated the feasibility and potential of the Dukuh village tour programme. The route established during the event can be the same route used in the tour, with the mode of transport being the lorry. However, a possible problem with regard to the feasibility of the programme is the coordination of all 4 stations. Because each of the activity is conducted by different households, it may difficult to ensure that when a tour is conducted, every single activity will have at least a villager overlooking and conducting the activity. This can be mitigated by conducting training for the guide to ensure he would know how to operate the technicalities at each station. In the event that the villagers are not working at any of the stations, the English speaking guide can still demonstrate and explain the different processes. Additionally, Dukuh village being remote and untouched by tourists, may not have the logistical capacity to accommodate tourist traffic and would require external help from agents such as Conservation International Indonesia as NGO.

Eco-tourism has been rising in popularity over recent years and practicing sustainable methods has been more strongly encouraged than ever before. This would make the promotion of the eco-tourism model viable in the long run, especially since it runs on a basis that encourages organic methods and does not produce much waste. It also abides by the Balinese philosophy Tri Hita Karana, that emphasizes the importance of harmony between God, nature and humans, further making it a unique and sustainable feature of the case for promoting eco-tourism in Dukuh village.

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