Aceh Poised to Become Main Tourism Destination

The Indonesian Province of Aceh is intensively developing its tourism sector in an effort to become one of the main tourism destinations in the western region of Indonesia.

In order to realize its dream of becoming a main tourism destination, Aceh province will learn from the experience of other provinces that have been successful and advanced in their tourism.

Besides that, it is also holding a working meeting for the national tour guide association to boost tourism services and train tour guides, especially on the Islamic sharia in the province.

“We are convinced that by sharing experiences, Aceh would be able to emulate the success of other regions. Through this support, we believe that Aceh will emerge as one of the main tourism destinations in the western regions of Indonesia,” Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf said, in written address read out by Aceh Regional Government Assistant II, Syaiba Ibrahim, at the opening of the National Working Meeting of the Indonesian Tour Guides Association (HPI) in Banda Aceh, on Wednesday (Oct 4).

Known as the Veranda of Mecca, Aceh is a province located at the tip of the island of Sumatra and also the western tip of Indonesia. It apparently has many exotic and amazing tourist attractions. Thus, visiting it can provide a different and exciting experience.

Aceh is famous for its beautiful nature and beaches flanked by both Indian Ocean and Malacca Straits. The sensational beauty often makes tourists want to return to visit and enjoy it again. There are not only beaches but also many other places that are also interesting to visit and admire.

Aceh tourism objects are no less interesting than those of other cities in Indonesia. Despite the heartbreaking history of the tsunami in late 2004, the natural disaster has even added to the attraction of visitors to get closer to nature and the city of Aceh.

The popular tourist destinations in Aceh include Lampuuk Beach, Ulee Lheue Beach, Lhoknga Beach, Suhom Waterfall, Rubiah Island, Tsunami Museum, and Baiturrahman Great Mosque.

This is only a small number of the hundreds of other tourist destinations in Aceh.

According to Yusuf, Aceh has at least 808 interesting locations that could be developed to achieve the provinces dream of becoming a major tourism destination in the western part of Indonesia.

“The government continues to improve facilities and infrastructure in all tourist areas in an effort to make the guests comfortable,” Yusuf remarked.

He explained that there are hundreds of tourism destinations in Aceh province, consisting of 426 natural tourism areas, 268 cultural tourism areas, and 114 special interest tourism areas. According to him, the presence of guides is very important and needs to be strengthened in order to support the development of the tourism sector in the province.

The Government of Aceh also expressed hoped that the HPI working meeting in Aceh would be able to serve as a means to strengthen the presence of guides on the Mecca Veranda.

The governor has urged other regions that have been successful in developing tour guides to share their experiences with Aceh, so that efforts to improve the tourism sector in Aceh could be realized in the future.

“We are confident that by sharing experience, Aceh will be able to become one of the main tourist destinations in the western part of Indonesia,” he added.

Chairman of the HPI Central Executive Board, Sang Putu Subaya, appreciated the initiative of the Aceh Government in supporting the DPD activities of HPI Aceh and supporting the implementation of the 17th HPI National Workshop in Aceh.

“We believe that through the support and cooperation of the Aceh Government, the ideals to promote tourism in Indonesia and increase the number of tourist arrivals, especially in Aceh, will be achieved,” he asserted.

Subaya added that if the tourism sector develops well, then other business sectors will automatically be boosted, and the business activities of society will also be increased.

Hence, Yusuf is of the view that the development of tourism is also supported by the presence of tour guides who provide services to the tourists.

“The main factor for developing the tourism sector not only depends on the interesting tourist areas, the complete facilities and infrastructure, and culture but also on the tour guides,” Yusuf revealed.

The governor explained that the existence of HPI, as an organization of the tour guides in the country, should be strengthened in order to play an optimal role in training and empowering members to do the best for the progress of Indonesian tourism.

He added that the duty of the guides, among others, was to arrange the trip of travelers to the destination, provide explanations about travel and attractions, take care of travel documents and luggage of tourists, and provide them assistance.

“Given the importance of the existence of tour guides, it is natural that the government, through the Ministry of Tourism, enforces the certification process for every tour guide working in the field, and the Aceh government is certainly very supportive of this policy,” he explained.

The Government of Aceh has proposed that additional modules would be tested to prospective Aceh tour guides, namely the understanding of Islamic Sharia. With this understanding, tour guides can explain clearly about Islamic Sharia in order to prevent misinterpretation among tourists.

“We have determined that the tourism sector is one of the programs that will be developed within the next five years, which has the potential to improve the peoples welfare, because Aceh has many tourist areas with high selling value,” he elaborated.(*)