Morotai is one of the 10 New Bali’s designated in 2016. This district already has a series of tourism events that are able to promote its character, beauty and uniqueness, such as Sail Morotai. However, on the other hand, efforts are needed to protect natural resources and increase community capacity for proactive community involvement, as well as efforts to maintain Morotai’s resource potential.
I-LMMA (Indonesia Locally Managed Marine Area) is an organization that provides protection through a local marine area management approach “Locally Managed Marine Area” (LMMA). LMMA is an area that is managed independently by village communities who want to manage their natural resources both on land, coast and sea properly through Village Regulations on Natural Resources Management (Perdes PSDA).
Efforts to protect the area through the Perdes PSDA that have been built in Morotai have not had a meaningful impact on the community as the owner of the area, if it is not aligned with the community’s economic development. Comprehensive efforts need to be made to have an impact, especially on the economy and community survival. One of them is through developing village-based sustainable tourism. This effort was carried out by I-LMMA together with the Wisnu Foundation. On 2-4 November 2023, the Wisnu Foundation visited Morotai to facilitate Village-Based Tourism Development Training.
Thursday, October 2, 2023
The activity was opened by the Head of the Morotai Island Regency Tourism Office, after previously the Head of Gorua Village as the host, the Director of LMMA Indonesia as the organizer, and representatives of the North Morotai Subdistrict Head gave speeches. In January 2023, as many as 30 villages received Morotai Tourism Village Decrees. The Head of the Tourism Office said that Morotai has a lot of potential, including historical potential related to the Pacific War, natural potential, especially waves for surfing, and cultural potential because there are many tribes living permanently in Morotai such as Tobelo and Gagela.
After lunch, training activities began. The training was attended by 8 villages, namely Gorua and South Gorua, Lifao, Bido, Buho-Buho, Hino, Seseli Jaya, and Loleo. Each village sends three representatives, and among them must be women. The first material presented was about understanding and how to become an Ecological Tourism Village, then about the technicalities of preparing interpretations.
Participants were divided into 5 groups, namely Loleo, Gorua and South Gorua, Bido, Lifao, Buhobuho-Hino-Seseli Jaya. Discussions were held to identify existing resources in the village, determine the important attributes or features of each resource, determine themes, and describe locations and travel routes on the map.
Before discussing, we invite participants to play. Participants were divided into two groups, namely women and men. Each group is asked to stand in a circle. We then made the circle smaller and smaller, until finally all the participants fell and left the circle. This game describes the conditions that would occur if the island was slowly and continuously taken by outsiders. The people inside will feel confused, afraid, cling to each other or elbow each other to defend themselves, until they end up falling and crushing each other. The interesting thing is, no one thinks or acts to encourage outsiders who continue to shrink the circle – the island of residence.
Friday, October 3, 2023
The activity begins with a reflection on the first day. One of the participants explained the activities carried out on the first day, as well as the material obtained. Understanding of tourism and ecotourism is then outlined in the meta plan, as are the expectations of each participant taking part in this activity.
Each group then presents the results of their discussion:
- Lifao Village: includes sea and land areas, namely rock holes, waves for surfing, and waterfall views.
- Bido Village: has several beaches whose sea is known as a surfing and diving location. One of the beaches, namely Pitu Beach, has been designated as a KSPN (National Tourism Strategic Area).
- Gorua and South Gorua Villages: focus on Tanjung Gorango which means shark. Even though there are sharks, this area is safe for swimming.
- Loleo Village: there is a table-shaped stone that used to be the home of a lobster. Loleo Beach has iron sand, where residents wait for fishermen to return from fishing. Tanjung (Cape) America was designated as a KSPN area and is currently in a damaged condition.
- Buho-buho Village, Hino, Seseli Jaya: has batter beach area, is also rich in seagrass as a habitat for marine biota, and there is an area designated as a marine protected area. These three villages also have forests with lakes in them.
In general, each group has been able to identify the resources it has, but is still focused on beach and sea areas that have been discussed as tourist destinations. Apart from that, the features of each resource still need to be explored to determine its uniqueness and authenticity.
The next discussion is to compile a story about each object or attraction, related to the theme that will be offered. But before that, we again invite participants to play around, this time playing Chain Messages. Participants are again divided into two groups, standing lengthwise. The person in the back row memorizes a message consisting of nine words. Up to the person standing in the front row, only three words remained. The interesting thing is that no one took the initiative to write down the message so that it would remain intact in the future.
This game is the initial message about the importance of writing stories, so that the interpretations conveyed do not vary and remain intact. Then, to make it easier to understand how the story and plot are structured, we walked along the coast from Gorua to South Gorua.
Starting from the banyan tree (it seems to be part of the mangrove family) where we met. As the largest tree in the village, this tree functions as a source of oxygen and shade, so that the area beneath it functions as a center for village residents’ activities, especially for resting during the day.
Next we walked south. There are former ships made of wood which are no longer used because ships are now made of fiber. Close to the location of the ship there is an ancient grave which is believed to be the grave of the founding elder of the village. Participants from Gorua do not yet know the complete information, so it needs to be explored again. Then we arrived at a very beautiful and shady place, a place that is often used for PAUD and Kindergarten children to play, and is also used for resting. The sea in front of the beach is the sea that is often used for surfing because the waves are big.
We then turned along the asphalt road towards the village settlement, and returned along the path towards the beach. Ulalaaa… the villagers were lined up sitting on the beach, some of them carrying small children. Apparently, that’s where all WhatsApp messages can connect. That’s it, it’s time to surf the internet while enjoying the view and the breeze.
Saturday, October 4 2023
The activity opened with a presentation from Lifao Village. The story told is broader and more detailed. Lifao is the name of the person who first planted gardens and lived in that place, coming from Buho-Buho Village. Batu Lobang (or Batu Balobang) is best visited when the sun rises, followed by surfing. Surfing or sitoro is commonly done by the Bido people, using boards made from tawang wood. When the water recedes, activities that can be done are totobe or fishing.
Meanwhile, small and large waterfalls are about 30 km away. Along the way, we are told that there are many types of plants that can be eaten or drunk, such as golopa, matoa, bamboo shoots, and soa-soa eggs. Lifao Forest has high biodiversity, including various types of bamboo shoots, ferns, butterflies, birds, various types of insects, and couscous.
While continuing to write and complete the story, we invite participants to watch a virtual tour of Banjar Dukuh Sibetan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-zsVvSt-tU&t=1199s) to better understand how to compose a story and tell it.