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Raja Ampat and Wakatobi Applied New Practice Adaptation in Diving Tourism

Keindahan Raja Ampat
Keindahan Raja Ampat Cottage wisata di atas laut Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia © YKAN
pemandangan bawah air
Underwater Delicates An underwater view at the Two Tree rescue site, Raja Ampat, Indonesia. © Purwanto Nugroho/TNC Photo Contest 2019

Starting from August 2020, Raja Ampat and Wakatobi began to open their tourism in stages. Undoubtedly, the tourism sector supports the economy of those two regions. However, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, new regulations are necessary and need to be understood by tourists, tourism managers, and locals. Tourism may be open, and the economy may bloom again, but public health and nature conservation must be prioritized.

This subject was the main topic in the “Adaptasi Kebiasan Baru Wisata Selam di Masa Pandemi COVID-19 in Raja Ampat and Wakatobi” (“New Practice Adaptation in Diving Tourism during COVID-19 Pandemic in Raja Ampat and Wakatobi”) webinar held by Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) on Monday, August 31, 2020. Diving tourism is one of the sectors heavily impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

From August 22, 2020, Raja Ampat started to open its tourism sector in stages for local tourists by applying new practice adaptation. “The Raja Ampat Regency Tourism Office has created a tourism guideline for Raja Ampat that needs to be obeyed by tourism managers and tourists. This guideline was released based on the Regent Regulation No.9 Year 2020 about the New Practice Adaptation Implementation Guideline to Prevent and Manage the Spread of COVID-19. Based on that regulation, there will be a sanction for a violation,” explained Yusdi Lamatenggo, Head of The Raja Ampat Regency Tourism Office.

A similar policy was also enforced in Wakatobi Regency. The Wakatobi Regency Tourism Office has published the new tourism practice adaptation guideline, including diving tourism. “Tourism sector contributes to more than 30% of the regional economic revenue, so re-opening tourism in Wakatobi is very important to us. However, we surely have created new special regulation to address this to be adapted with the public health protocol in the new practice adaptation, and this regulation has been socialized to all diving guides and other tourism managers,” said Noval Monali, Wakatobi Regency Tourism Office Secretary.

New practice adaptation socialization in diving tourism became everyone’s responsibility. The diving guide association also took part in the socialization, as stated by Ruben Sauyai, the Head of Professional Association of Divers Raja Ampat (PADRA). “Even until today, we still keep socializing this new deadline to all tourist guides, and this socialization takes a long time considering tourist guides are located in various places across Raja Ampat,” he stated.

Meanwhile, La Ode Amaluddin, the Head of Wakatobi Professional Diver Association (WPDA), stated that one of the present challenges against the policy was the adaptation to many new practices, especially in ensuring this new practice adaptation guideline was followed well by every party.

This webinar also starred Rani Bustar from the Indonesian Diving Tourism Business Association (Perkumpulan Usaha Wisata Selam Indonesia or PUWSI) and Ichwan Susanto from the Society of Indonesian Environmental Journalists (SIEJ) as panelists. In their explanations, Rani and Ichwan emphasized the importance of being mindful, always following the new practice adaptation guideline to prevent new clusters of the COVID-19, and paying attention to the local environment support capacities.

Implementing this practice guideline in diving tourism requires a shared awareness from all the stakeholders in the tourism industry. Attending to medical and chemical wastes from the disinfectants used under the COVID-19 protocol is also equally important. Rizya added that this waste management could be done by installing waste disposal on the boat, resorts, or other tourist locations.

In the end, this diving tourism practice guideline was created to ensure the safety of the visitors, managers, and locals to prevent and stop the spread of the COVID-19 while also supporting the conservation aspect. A well-planned adaptation effort could encourage the continuity of the community’s socio-economic lives as well as preserve nature.

Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit