THE YOGYAKARTA Special Region (DIY) is not only famous for the Malioboro area or the Yogyakarta Palace. Moving slightly to the southwestern region of DIY, there is a district that is increasing its tourist attraction by introducing a variety of tourist village activities, namely Kulon Progo Regency.

According to the head of the Kulon Progo Regency Tourism Office, Joko Mursito, Kulon Progo is improving each of its tourist villages to make them more premium in order to improve the economy of the local community. By developing several elements of tourist villages such as homestays, live-in activities or live-in activities mingling with the local community, this is a concept that is being improved in Kulon Progo.

“Kulon Progo has established that its tourism development is based on community empowerment, the proof is that Kulon Progo has been included in ADWI (Indonesian Tourism Village Award) for 4 years in a row, only in Kulon Progo from all over Indonesia, this is proof that our use of tourism villages is successful,” said Joko when met by the media at Kamijoro Bend, Kulon Progo, on Saturday (06/22), 2024.

One thing that also makes Kulon Progo improve its tourism standards is the presence of Yogyakarta International Airport, such as the construction of an international standard hospital and cooperation with hotel developers to build property in the area.

International standard hotels also require homestays managed by local residents to raise standards in terms of service and products used to be more premium. Training and mentoring continues to be provided by both the tourism bureau and the local sub-district, in collaboration with surrounding hotels, to determine how to entertain visitors with the best hotel-style service.

“The training has been running from 2021 to 2024 and we have a program called the Tourist Village Potential Competition to Spread Enchantment, one of the things assessed in the tourist village is homestays, so the jury comes and they stay, I set my own standards because we need to know how they serve for 24 hours,” Joko remarked.

The tour packages offered to travelers also include exploring the uniqueness of each village in Kulon Progo, such as nature or adventure tourism, wellness tourism, and cultural themes such as conservation, with a total of 26 tourist villages. Joko implemented the rule that each tourist village must set its own theme, so that the distribution of tourists can be even and have many choices of tourist activities.

Like one of the bird conservation tourism activities in Jatimulyo, which apparently attracts foreign tourists so they stay with local residents to do bird watching. There is also the Rumah Sandi educational tour in Tinalah, the Ngargosari or Widosari nature tour with views of ancient volcanoes, and there are also outbound activities in Argo Tirto.

“There are 4 people who have received ADWI in Tinalah for educational tourism, Ngargosari or Widosari is an ancient volcanic nature, Hargotirto homestay outbound activity, this year Jatimulyo with conservation,” he noted.

In the future, Joko wants Kulon Progo to make a success of sustainable tourism, which focuses on environmental issues such as waste management and collecting plastic waste from the community when there are cultural activities. This is to increase public awareness of the cleanliness of Kulon Progo and can attract tourists from home and abroad. [antaranews]