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Baduy people ditch the word 'tourism' as plastic waste mounts

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, July 14, 2020  /  12:39 pm
Baduy people ditch the word 'tourism' as plastic waste mounts

Baduy people walk down a path in Kanekes village, Banten, on Oct. 15, 2017. The area has been designated a cultural conservation area. (Shutterstock/ Learnmoreandmore)

The remote villages of the indigenous Baduy tribe in Lebak regency, Banten province, which have been popular tourist destinations for years, have recently reimagined their relationship with visitors as one of saba budaya baduy (communal cultural bonds) following a request from locals who no longer wanted their home to be associated with the word "tourism". 

As reported by kompas.com, the word “tourism” was considered unsuitable as it referred to spectacle, entertainment and development. The word saba was thought to be more appropriate as it represented the tribe’s values, which encourage members to appreciate each other and live in harmony with human beings, divinity and the universe. 

Following the decision, which was made after a meeting between the Lebak administration and the Baduy Indigenous Community Institution on Friday, the word "tourism" will be replaced with saba budaya baduy on media including road signs, billboards, offices, mass media and social media.

According to Lebak Tourism Agency head Imam Rismahayadin, visitors are still welcome to the regency but will be required to sign a guestbook and state the purpose of their visit and its relation to communal bonding.

 Read also: Baduy tribe remains free of coronavirus

Previously, it was reported that the community had sent a letter to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, the Banten governor, the Lebak regent and related ministries and institutions requesting the removal of their home from the country's tourism map.

One of the reasons cited was the increasing amount of plastic waste discarded by tourists, which had caused environmental degradation in the area. 

Baduy is divided into two parts, Baduy Luar and Baduy Dalam, and consists of 65 villages. The villages can only be reached by foot.

The Baduy tribe holds its traditions in high regard, so visitors are expected to do the same. There are a number of rules that must be obeyed in Baduy Dalam. One of them is not to take pictures or record videos. Visitors are also prohibited from using soap, shampoo or toothpaste while bathing in the river.

There is also a strict ban on littering, and all visitors are required to bring their trash back home. (wir/kes)