News Feature - Lesson learned from "balkondes" around Borobudur

News Feature - Lesson learned from "balkondes" around Borobudur

Delegates from 20 countries of the International Council of Women (ICW) had dinner the Balkondes or "Village Economy Hall" ,Ngadiharjo, Borobudur, Central Java on Tuesday (Sept 18). (ANTARA News/Azizah Fitriyanti)

Yogyakarta  (ANTARA News) - "Seeing is believing!" This proverb sounds old but remains relevant for Indonesia`s endeavor to convince foreigners wanting to observe and feel its success in, for instance, developing the economic potential of regions.

Instead of just talking about how to empower the people`s economy in rural areas to the foreigners by providing them with slides, photos and statistical data, a more effective way is facilitating them to observe the targeted areas for themselves.

This strategy was adopted by the organizing committee of the 35th International Council of Women (ICW) General Assembly, being held in Yogyakarta, by inviting delegates of this United Nations-affiliated organization`s meeting to come to Magelang District.

Several of the ICW`s General Assembly participants joined a field trip to the Borobodur Temple resort areas in Magelang District, Central Java Province, some 42km away from Yogyakarta, to observe the presence of "Balai Ekonomi Desa" (Balkondes).

The Balkondes or "Village Economy Hall" is an economic system that is implemented to boost tourism-based economic development in the rural areas around the Borobudur Temple, which has been recognized by the UNESCO as one of the world`s heritage sites.

Thus, the local residents of villages, which have been developed to become "village economy halls", are expected to become involved in the tourism industry of Borobudur, a world heritage that has lured lots of domestic and foreign tourists to visit.

As an economic system that is implemented to boost the economic potential of those living around the temple, Balkondes is developed with the financial support of the state-owned enterprises` corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

So far, as revealed in the official website of the Bankondes program, there have been 20 village economy halls around the resort area of the ancient temple.

Among them are the tourist villages of Tuksongo, Wringinputih, Wanurejo, Tanjungsari, Majaksingi, Karanganyar, Karangrejo, Borobudur, Bumiharjo, Candirejo, Tegalarum, Sambeng, Ngargogondo, Ngadiharjo, and Giripurno.

According to Azizah Fitriyanti, an Antara journalist who joined the Balkondes field trip, the participating ICW delegates were scheduled to visit 10 of 20 tourist villages around the Borobudur Temple.

One of the ICW delegates who joined the trip was Christine Knock. A day before traveling to the tourist villages, Knock said she wanted to see the concrete results of the Balkondes program within the targeted tourist villages.

Knock said she was very impressed with State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno`s explanation about the Balkondes model of developing the economic potential of villagers around the Borobudur Temple when she spoke at the opening session on September 13, 2018.

Therefore, visiting the tourist villages that have been well developed under the Balkondes action program seemed to be a good end to the 35th ICW General Assembly and the National Gathering of 1,000 Indonesian Women`s Organizations, she said.

Observing the evidence of Indonesia`s success in empowering women and their families` economies through the Balkondes program in Magelang District has given her valuable self-experience, as well as an opportunity to see the picturesque Borobudur Temple.

For the ICW delegates, who happen to have opportunities to stay longer at the tourist villages around Borobudur, they are not just able to climb the temple but are also able to go jogging, cycling, off-roading, and traveling around in Volkswagen vans.

From the perspective of "nomadic tourism", the availability of affordable homestays in the tourist villages around the temple is expected to attract more millennials to travel. Therefore, nomadic tourism needs to be introduced to addicted travelers.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said nomadic tourism has become a solution not only to meet the needs of the millennial generation but also for the limited availabilities of attractions, amenities, and accessibilities within 10 main beyond-Bali destinations.

The Borobudur Temple is one of the ten Beyond-Bali tourist destinations that the central government has decided on.

What the state-owned enterprises have contributed to those living around Borobudur through the Balkondes program has been felt by the local residents. This has ensured the villagers gain benefits from the glamorous side of Borobudur Temple`s tourism.

 (T.R013/B/KR-BSR/A014) 18-09-2018 22:14:24