Jatibarang Dam may bring tourist villages
Residents of Jatibarang in Brebes, Central Java, have been told to capitalize on the tourism appeal of the dam and reservoir that have replaced their agricultural fields.
The pronouncement was one of several recently made by the local tourism agency, which has evaluated several local subdistricts with an eye to developing tourist villages.
“We don’t want local people just to become just spectators or tourists visiting the dam. We want them to play a role,” agency head Diarsito Sapto said earlier this week.
Tourist villages could be developed since the reservoir created to support the Jatibarang Dam construction project had become a recreation area. “Now that the fields have been converted into a dam, they [residents]have to do something,” Diarsito said.
The Rp 1.6 trillion (US$171.2 million) dam, scheduled to start operation in 2014, offers several attractions, from its high draw-off tower, views of the meandering river-like ditches passing through villages and green zones slated to become habitats for monkeys and birds.
The Jatibarang Dam project, about 180 kilometers west of Semarang, Central Java, covers 221.65 hectares.
It spans parts of Kandri and Jatirejo subdistricts in Gunungpati and Kedungpane and Jatibarang subdistricts in Mijen district.
Among the villages ready to receive tourists is Siwarak in Kandri, which is home to about 600 people and is rich in plantations growing papaya, oranges, cassava and pandan. A waterfall, hot springs and white-water rivers are also available.
“We are still investigating the marketable potentials of our village,” Zubaidi, a resident of Siwarak, said.
Zubaidi said that development would be influenced by the results of a comparative study conducted by local administration officials on tourist villages, such as Candirejo in Magelang, Central Java.
“We have learned how to manage a tourist village so it is attractive to foreign tourists,” Zubaidi said.
Foreign tourists, according to Zubaidi, might be a lucrative market for residents. Seventeen tourist ships moor at the Semarang Tanjung Mas Seaport every month, carrying about 1,500 passengers.
Zubaidi said he was eager to entice those passengers to stay a while and not simply pass through on the way to Yogyakarta and Bandung. “We have plenty of potential tourist destinations here,” he said.
Hedi Pudjo Santoso of Diponegoro University, was upbeat. “The administration is using a soft way to prevent possible conflict.”