Kick off into the series of events to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of FIKP Unhas. Online Seminar: Developing Selayar Archipelago toward a Super Priority Destination for Tourism

The Faculty of Marine Science and Fisheries of Universitas Hasanuddin will be having its Silver Anniversary on January 2021. Throughout its 25 years of existence, the Faculty has recorded a series of achievements in both National and International arena, as well as within local and regional levels. Being one of its mission in Community Service, the Faculty dedicates its attention and concerns toward development in South Sulawesi.

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White sandy beaches in Selayar, just one among many potential destination for prime marine tourism (Source: Iwan personal collection).

This event was conducted in collaboration with the District Government of Selayar Regency. In addition, the event was further supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy; The Agency for Culture and Tourism of South Sulawesi Provincial Government; The Management Unit of Takabonerate National Park of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry; and two private tourism company/operators, i.e. the Operation Wallacea and PT SKL (Selayar Kepulauan Lestari). Each of this institution has their representative to talk and present their perspective on the strategy toward achieving the status of Super-priority Destination for Selayar.

A series of events has been planned and prepared for this Silver Anniversary Commemoration. As a kick off into the series, last Tuesday 21st July had seen the commencement of an Online Seminar to discuss the Development of Selayar Archipelago toward a Super Priority Destination for Tourism. This online seminar was officially opened by the Vice Rector for Partnership & Innovation Development, Prof. dr. Nasrum Massi, PhD. In this occasion, the District Head (Bupati) of Selayar Archipelago, H. Muhammad Basli Ali stated his appreciation toward this initiative and expect that Unhas may contribute thoughts on strategies to accelerate achievement of that Super-priority Destination status. This virtual event took place from 9.00 AM until 2.00 PM, and was moderated by Dr. Ir. Muh. Rijal Idrus, MSc., a faculty member from FIKP.

Selayar has all the potentials to succeed as a prime and favorite destination for marine tourism. Selayar provides an unbeatable dynamic interaction of stunning seascape, attractive landscape, beautiful culture, and lovely people. Its lush corals and fringing reefs taming with colorful fishes, appealing tropical sandy beaches, and striking panorama are just a few example of what people will encounter when visiting this place. Albeit all those natural potentials however, two crucial challenges immediately emerged right from the start of this discussion: Accessibility and Infrastructure to support tourism.

The Covid19 Pandemic however, may provide a blessing in disguise to Selayar. As Dr. Hari Santosa Sungkari, the Deputy for Destination and Infrastructure Development of the Ministry of Tourism, who had the opportunity to speak right after the Bupati inaugural comments, mentioned in his presentation that there is currently a paradigm shift in establishing and promoting a tourist destination. Due to pandemic, people now tend to avoid crowded place and seek for holiday destination that offer them more of sanctity rather than inexpensive yet mass-produced services. Selayar now has the upper-hand in tourism by offering high-value, non-crowded sanctuary to enjoy to those primary tourism market. In concluding his speech, the Deputy Minister for Destination and Infrastructure Development, Dr. Hari Santosa Sukrisno, asked Unhas to proactively assist and facilitate the District of Selayar to develop a sustainable marine tourism.

Continuing the discussion, Mr. Bruno Rantetana, from Provincial Government stated his institution’s commitment to support Selayar determination to become a Super-priority Destination by allocating more resources to its development. The province currently has two districts as Priority Destinations, the Toraja (upperland) and Selayar (marine scape). Although accessibility has always be the main issue to Selayar, the Provincial Government is committed to address the matter and solve the accessibility issue along the way.

Dr, Ir. Marjani Sultan, MSi., the District Secretary of Selayar, who had the next turn to speak presented the work in-progress on Selayar’s preparation toward a Super-priority Destination. The main part of this is Selayar’s application to the National Government to seek for KEK status. KEK is Kawasan Ekonomi Khusus, or Spesial Economic Region = SER. One main institutional requirement to prepare for KEK is the availability of a forum where many stakeholders can collaborate and synergize one another. In response to this, Selayar District Government has established PT Selayar Kepulauan Lestari (PT SKL), a consortium which draw together resources (capital and expertise) from government, private business ventures, and community. PT SKL representatives: Mr. Paulus Mintarga and Mr. Iwan later took the stage and described the roadmap intended toward achieving the KEK Status for Selayar.

After going through Selayar’s plans and perspectives, the webinar presented two kind of experiences from the field. Mr. Faat Rudiyanto represented the Taka Bonerate National Park, and Mr. Rowan Watt-Pringle represented the Operation Wallacea. Geographically, Taka Bonerate archipelago is part of the Selayar Archipelago and hence administratively part of Selayar District. However, the conservation efforts for the National Park has been managed directly under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Rowan Watt-Pringle, who is currently a Doctoral student at FIKP Unhas, entertained the participants to the experience of OpWal (Operation Wallacea) – a UK based foundation- operating an Academic Tourism in Hoga Island, Wakatobi. The operation involved bringing in foreign students from many different countries to Hoga Island Marine Station where they perform volunteers work that are tied to their academic credits. The model has proven successful and there is a good opportunity to extend such operation, in collaboration with Universitas Hasanuddin, into Selayar Archipelago.

After getting the perspectives from first the policy makers, and then followed by people from the field, it was then the Dean of FIKP’s turn to take the stage and presented an academic perspective on the matter. Dean Aisyah Farhum in general explain about the importance of combining the ecology and economic perspective in developing tourism in Selayar. Ecotourism may be the best approach to do so. Once again, the Dean stated her institution’s commitment, as well as Unhas in general, to be actively involved and assist in the process of Selayar’s economic development, especially from academic and scientific aspects of the process. The last part of this online seminar was a Discussion Session where the participants had the opportunity to comment and presented additional inputs and perspectives toward the main theme of the webinar. The exchanges sparked quite a few noble perspectives and interesting assessments, and had certainly enriched the discussion which in turn enhanced the outlook of Selayar’s future development for tourism.

The discussion took place were so lively that most participants did not really care that time has already passed lunchtime. It was only a few minutes toward 2.00 PM when Moderator eventually managed to finalize the lively exchanges. It was indeed a vigorous morning filled with dynamic exchanges of ideas. The seminar was closed by once-again emphasizing the commitments from all stakeholders to dedicate their efforts toward Selayar’s future development as a primary and priority tourism destination.

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