Indonesia

INDONESIA INTERVIEWS

Brief Country Background
Indonesia is a nation of over 17,000 islands and the fourth most populous country in the world.1 After centuries of Dutch colonization, Indonesia gained sovereignty in 1949. From 1967-1998, the country was under President Suharto’s authoritarian rule and mired by rampant corruption.

In 1997, the Asian Economic Crisis significantly devalued the local currency (rupiah), increased unemployment and inflation and contracted the economy. Consequently, riots and protests broke out demanding for new leadership and democratic reform. Suharto stepped down in 1998 but the nation didn’t experience its first direct presidential election until October 2004.

Indonesia is home to over 300 ethnic groups and 700 languages and dialects. Approximately 85 percent of the population is Muslim, 11 percent is Christian (Protestants and Catholics), and 4 percent is Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, or traditional.2

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Indonesia, over 6 million people visited Indonesia and generated 6.3 billion US dollars in 2009.3 The travel and tourism industry is expected to support directly 2,996,000 jobs (2.7% of total employment) in 2011, rising by 2.1% per year to 3,690,000 jobs (2.8%) by 2021.4

Summary of Interviews
Majority of the locals interviewed said the benefits of tourism for them were economic opportunities but their main concern was seeing their culture influenced and changed by the increase in tourism. Interviews were conducted in Jogyakarta (Java), Ubud (Bali) and Kuta (Bali) in January 2010. Below are a few sample full-length interviews.

Jogyakarta

Gato, losmen staff
Jan. 15, 2010

…if you’re serious about traveling a long time in eastern Asia and you want to understand the local people, you must know yourself first. And you must check with yourself because if you never check in with yourself and just following the Lonely Planet guide it’ll just tell you to be careful on this island, that island, every island.
Read full interview

Jogyakarta

Bedhot, artist and losmen owner
Jan. 15, 2010

The positive thing is when tourists come here, people in the area can earn money from tourism. Another positive thing is when tourists come, local people have opportunities to see and sometimes talk to international people. Sometimes local people don’t know about other countries and by talking to tourists they know more about that.
Read full intervie

Ubud

Dawa, painter & restaurant staff
Jan. 19, 2010

You know, we need the tourists, yeah? Because our lives depend on tourism, you know? We’re protective of tourism in Bali. But, you know, starting from maybe 10 years ago, there’s been a lot of competition for me.
Read full interview

Ubud

Ayu, shopkeeper at an internet cafe
Jan. 19, 2010

Yeah, because Balinese are different. We are not used to short skirts or open(revealing) t-shirts. If you dress like that, people will think “Oh, what are they doing? She is too sexy.”
Read full interview

Kuta

Akou, tourist information staff
Jan. 27, 2010

So, you know, it’s really bad if we tell the tourists about what they shouldn’t do because we worry they will be like, “Why that’s not your business!” You know, we don’t know how to tell them. We don’t know how to tell them about it. But, you know, that’s really bad, actually.
Read full interview

Semiyak

Fifi, travel agent
Jan. 27, 2010

For our culture, local people have little time for their culture when they work in tourism. Because working in tourism, you have to be on time for things, like that. They work long hours so they can’t socialize and don’t have so much time to stay in their village.
Read full interview

back to the top

Sources:
1Embassy of Indonesia, Washington DC | http://www.embassyofindonesia.org/about/basicfacts.htm
2Embassy of Indonesia, Washington DC | http://www.embassyofindonesia.org/about/people.htm
3Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia | http://www.budpar.go.id/page.php?ic=621&id=180
4World Travel & Tourism Council | http://www.wttc.org/eng/Tourism_Research/Economic_Research/Country_Reports/Indonesia/

Share