Visitors to Borobudur come not only to admire the beauty of the temple, rather are more in appreciation of the ancient civilization , represented by one of the worlds wonders.
The people around the Tourism Park of the temple, in the district of Magelang, Central Java, have made use of the opportunity brought about with the large number of foreign visitors to that location.
Every years, around 300,000 foreign and 4 million domestic tourists visit Borobudur.
The people of the village of Ngaran II, not far from the Borobudur Tourist park have cooperated in providing an accommodation business, a business area known to be the monopoly of big companies.
The villagers organized and form an association of homestay operators called Borobudur Homestay Village grouping 25 members. Altogether they have 75 rooms for rent with relatively cheap tariffs.
The initiative of forming the association is in anticipation of promoting Candi Borobudur as a world tourist destination. United they have greater chance of facing any plan by big companies to build a hotel there.
The relatively cheap homestay room rate would encourage tourists to stay longer in that area.
Expansion of the Borobudur Homestay Village, however, would need support and guidance from the government, and the tourism industry, a homestay operator Muslich said .
Muslich said the Borobudur Homestay Village is a contribution of the local people to development of the tourist sector in that area. The association of the operators of homestay is to meet growing number of visitors to the area to admire or to appreciate the worlds asset.
Many of the visitors are interested in the culture. They are not here for leisure, but they want to study the local culture and for that they need time to interact with the local people, Muslich said, adding, they do not need staying in luxurious hotels.
"The Borobudur Homestay Village is to meet what the tourists need. The Borobudur Homestay Village provides facilities like cars, motorcycles, horse carriage,etc," he said.
He said the homestay tariffs range from Rp75,000 to Rp600,000 per room per night. The tariffs for a two-room house range from Rp300,000 to Rp1.5 million depending on the facilities provided.
"The facilities include air conditioners, hot bathing water, fans and television sets. The tariff for a house with facilities of fan and a TV set is Rp300,000 per night and with tea, coffee and snack," he said.
He said that the Borobudur Homestay Village has a website: www.kampunghomestayborobudur.com to make order easier for visitors.
According to him, the occupancy rate of the Borobudur Homestay Village is 40 percent at low season and 100 percent at high season such as toward the end of year or new year, Waisak, Idul Fitri, and school holidays.
So far, foreign visitors make up around 70 percent of the guests with domestic guests 30 percent.
District Head of Magelang Zaenal Arifin said Borobudur Homestay Village is a form of community-based tourism development.
He said President Joko Widodo, during his recent visit to Magelang, said the Magelang regency should encourage development of community based tourism.
"But the people should be aware that the visits by foreign tourists is part of the process of world acculturation. Therefore, we must be able to filter out habits not in line with our culture," he remarked.
"We will see many foreign tourists are not properly dressed. We dont have to be disturbed by that as it is their culture," he said.
He said the Borobudur area has grown fast, therefore, synergy is needed between all stakeholders to sustain the growth.
The district head expressed thanks to a number of state companies for their contribution in social fund for the development of a village economic convention hall.
He said development of homestay has contributed to development of local tourism and district economy which will benefit the people in general.
He said the Borobudur village chief is expected to maintain good security and allow the people to exploit all potentials in the village.
"The local people should be the first to gain from the potentials . They must not become spectators of development in their village," he said.
Head of the Youth , Sports and Tourism Office of Central Java Urip Sihabudin said development of homestay, digitalization and expansion of international flight are needed to back up the policy of the Tourism Ministry to attract more foreign visitors to the country.
Urip said the people in the village of Ngaran II, Borobudur, already took the right initiative by expanding homestay and digitalization by opening their website www.kampunghomestayborobudur.com.
"This is extraordinary . We highly appreciate the initiative of the local people in Borobudur," he said.
The fast growing number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia is not only attributable to the countrys natural beauty but more to education.
He lauded the initiative of the local people in the village of Borobudur in developing homestay accommodation as a response to the trend of education tourism.
However, operators of homestay should continue to observe a certain standard to guarantee expansion of the industry. The standards include sufficient illumination, clean water supply, hygiene and clean lavatory.
"The provincial administration would encourage development of homestay industry and certification should be regulated to guarantee quality of the service industry. Borobudur homestay operators in particular should be proud to hold certificate," he said. (*)