With its natural and ancient artificial sites whose aesthetic qualities are impossible to quantify and hundreds of ethnicity, language, as well as culture spread across thousands of its islands, Indonesia definitely has more than what it takes, in terms of basic potential, to be one of the world’s biggest players in the tourism industry. Of course, as an industry, tourism does not only depend on initial raw products. Having a great amount of unique cultures, flora, fauna, and places to visit does not necessarily translate into a success in tourism industry. Promotional strategy, management system, and infrastructure tend to be more critical in increasing number of visits from national and international tourists.
Looking at the history of the amount of its visitors, it is apparent that Indonesia is still struggling to establish the vital elements of tourism industry. Fortunately, awareness regarding this problem has grown since 2015. Serious efforts have been put in by the government to secure more visitors each year. Previously unknown tourist attractions have been introduced, promoted, equipped with accommodating infrastructure, and completed with reliable management every year.
However, government, through the Ministry of Tourism, can only do so much to ensure continual and sustainable improvements. The vast number of different skills required to improve Indonesia’s tourism industry makes it evident that a collective effort is highly needed. Various institutions and elements of society are required to contribute to maintain the positive change in Indonesia’s tourism industry.
As one of the said institutions, English Department of Dharma Andalas University possesses few skills that can provide an assistance to Indonesia in reshaping its tourism industry for the better. Being aware of this fact motivated UNIDHA’s English Department to organize a community service titled “Workshop Bahasa Inggris Pariwisata dan Pembuatan Fanpage Facebook untuk Pengembangan POKDARWIS Insan Peduli Wisata Goa Batu Kapal (IPWGBK)”. The community service team was led by Yamialdi, S.S., M.Pd and supported by three lecturers and one student of UNIDHA’s English Department (Rahma Yanti, S.S., MEIL, Rabbi Antaridha S.S., M.A, Irsyad Shabri, S.Hum., M.Hum, and Muhammad Syukri Izka). It was designed based on specific needs of Goa Batu Kapal personnel as communicated by Mr. Rahman, the head of POKDARWIS (Kelompok Sadar Wisata, or Tourism-Aware Society) Ranah Pantai Cermin Solok Selatan and Mr. Yuneldi, the head of POKDARWIS IPWGBK. Materials such as; strategies to improve one’s spoken English for tourism purposes; attitudes that must be developed by people who directly interact with tourists; essential aspects that need to be implemented by an organized tourist spot; and online promotion (Google Business, Fanpage Facebook, and Instagram) had been prepared.
On February 16th, at 09:00 am, the community service team arrived at Goa Batu Kapal—a newly opened tourist destination establishment located in Solok Selatan, West Sumatera. Mr. Yuneldi, Mr. Rahman, and a few personnel of Goa Batu Kapal management greeted the team. Before presenting the prepared materials, the team was invited to explore two of the caves preserved by the Goa Batu Kapal management and POKDARWIS IPWGBK. The exploration was completed in around three hours, which was not anticipated by the team. Nevertheless, even though it consumed a considerable chunk of the time the team had designated for the community service, the impromptu exploration proved to be quite constructive to the community service. The informal discussion during the exploration, where both parties interacted without prescribed hierarchical roles (instructors and pupils), inspired the team to make some adjustments in the prepared materials to better suit the needs of the management leaders and personnel. It also formed a much more relaxed and friendlier atmosphere. Furthermore, witnessing the imposing beauty of the caves first hand and experiencing the striking hospitality of the leaders and personnel of Goa Batu Kapal management during the exploration had only magnified the team’s enthusiasm in sharing the materials later. It was clear to the team that the caves of Goa Batu Kapal and the people who managed and preserved them were assets of an unquestionable importance. The main event ran smoothly and was concluded at 03:30 pm. The community service was such a success that both parties hoped to create a lasting symbiotic relationship in the future.