Many people in Maluku are still suffering from the impact of ethnic, religious and group conflict in 1999. According to World Food Programme publication on Poverty Map of Indonesia (2005), incidence of poverty in the province is more 30%. Conflict had destructed economic potentialities, includes household economic assets.
The conflict has impacted to the tourism sector that is still stagnant comparing with other sector. It shows that the declining of number of tourists visit to Maluku has impacted to the sustainability of enterprises in tourism sector. Some hotels and restaurants in Nusaniwe are difficult to sustain their services, due to limited numbers of visitors. The existing numbers of tourism destinations is not able to stimulate local economic development, though maintaining minimum income for local vendors and workers.
Despite, Local authority of Ambon actually is planning to establish a water-front city and attract investors who will invest mega-project, the Tourism sector has been less prioritized by the local government indicated by the small local provincial budget allocated 2010-2011. After 10 years, this project has never been implemented.
Before the conflict, local authority was actively conducting arts, cultural and music events in tourism objects. These activities have attracted local visitors to come during weekend. During peace building processes, the government of Maluku is actively promoting several opportunities to stimulate economic growth, reducing poverty and unemployment; such as Sail Banda and seaweed production etc.
In the current development, the ILO has facilitated the establishment of Ambon Tourism Board. The board will promote the tourism in Ambon and surrounding areas. Currently, many tourism industrial players (hotels, restaurants and tourism agents) realize that after Sail Banda 2010, tourists who are coming to Maluku decreasing because there is no international events exists to attract tourists.
Despite SAIL-BANDA event that is prepared by Maluku provincial and Ambon City government, there is no long term plan for tourism has been designed effectively designed involving hotels and restaurants in tourism destinations to promote SMEs that is producing handy-craft, training tourism guides who collaborate with tourism agents to promote Maluku and its tourism destinations and to improve tourism sector infrastructure and its facilities.
To support the provincial government, the project will support local government and key stakeholders who working in tourism (hotels, associations, restaurants, tour-guide and community), the project will hold a workshop to identify a potential of tourism sector and its gaps and challenges and to develop a road-map for tourism promotion in short and long-term programme, especially in Leitimur Selatan.
In addition, developing action plan through public and private partnership that will ensure ensure the integration between government, policy makers and local actors, an integrated programmme will be established to maximize local resources for local economic development in this sector by involving communities participation.
The overall objective of the workshop aims at support the development of mid-term development plan (Rencana Pembangunan Jangka Menengah or RPJM) of Kota Ambon and Maluku Province in tourism sector with the following specific objective:
- To map out participatory potential areas for tourism in Leitimur Selatan Sub-district.
- To develop programmme priorities in tourism sector to be potentially implemented by community in Leitimur Selatan.
- To develop recommendations and action plan given to the provincial government of Maluku and Ambon Municipality to promote tourism, especially Leitimur Selatan and Seram Utara.