The Jakarta Post
A group of 30 Gadjah Mada University (UGM) students has helped the locals of Margamukti village in Pangalengan district, Bandung, West Java, map its tourism potential as part of the students’ Community Service Program (KKN).
The result of the mapping was officially handed over by the students in the form of a blueprint to Margamukti village head Agus Suherman during the Pangalengan geotourism festival held in the village over the weekend. The festival itself aims to improve public awareness of the importance of tourism potential in sustainable tourism development.
Apart from the blueprint, the students, who have been staying in the village since June 24 and are scheduled to leave on Aug. 9, also presented the administration with a Margamukti geological map and a village tourism website.
Located some 1,200 meters above sea level, Margamukti offers cool weather and a green panorama of tea plantations and pine forests as well as hot springs, waterfalls, biking tracks, spots to enjoy sunsets and geothermal power plant sites in the nearby area.
UGM community service director Irfan Dwidya Prijambada said tourism was the easiest way to develop a community as it did not need huge capital. “What we sell is the existing nature. Only, it needs to be well managed,” Irfan said.
He added that tourism matches with the development program of the Pangalengan administration as the Bandung regent was also seeking to develop the district as a tourist destination.
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Meanwhile UGM deputy rector Bambang Agus Kironoto said that what the students were doing in Pangalengan was to implement the success that UGM already achieved in Lahendong, North Sulawesi, in developing geothermal-based tourism through the same program.
“We will try to implement the success here in accordance with the potential of this region, so as to create added value,” Bambang said, underlining the importance of mapping a region’s potential.
For this, he said, the working program of the first KKN students deployed in Pangalengan focused more on the mapping of the potential of the region, based on this the next group of students will further help develop tourism in the area.
“This for sure will not be the only group of students to be sent here. There will be more to come. But, this will not be successful without the support of all parties including local communities,” Bambang said.
UGM sent out a total of 5,592 KKN students in 212 groups this year across the country’s 34 provinces.
In the past few years the university has been implementing KKN programs in which a target region receives groups of KKN students continuously every year for five consecutive years for sustainability purposes. Each group usually stays for about two months in the location. (kes)