Geotourism Festival 2020 is a virtual event initiated and organized in July 2020 by Rinjani-Lombok UNESCO Global Geopark. The main support came from Republic Indonesia Ministry of Tourism & Creative Economy, as well as the Indonesian Geoparks Network, Japanese Geoparks Network and APGN. This event was assisted by 20 local student volunteers.
Covid-19 pandemic severely affected tourism industry in Indonesia, where twenty million people work in it. Many tourism players of the local communities and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) lost their job or experienced significant income decrease. The goals of this virtual event were to support Geotourism development in Lombok and Indonesia; offering a chance to MSMEs to promote their geoproducts and facilitate community in tourism industry to earn income in pandemic time through virtual event.
There were 4 main agendas in this event, namely Webinars, Cultural Performances, Online Exhibition and Virtual Geotours for 2-day long event on 15th – 16th July 2020. There were 511 registered participants from Indonesia & abroad in this event, 56 virtual exhibition partners and 15 local tour guides.
The 3 webinars topics were: Development of Geotourism in Asia Pacific (Speaker: Prof. JIN Xiaochi), Success Story of Geotourism development in Japan (Speakers: Dr. Atsuko Niina & Ms. Yoshie Nakada) and How to Create A Geotour Package (Speaker: Prof. Noel Scott from University of the Sunshine Coast).
The cultural performance at the Opening Ceremony was ‘Reading of Samalas Story, combined with Earth Song Jazz Music’, to signify that the volcanic eruption brought disaster, but also produced beautiful landscape and fertile land for human life. The Earth Song reinforces the message of conservation in the development of geoparks. Lombok Traditional Stick Fighting Sport performances called ‘Peresean’ was presented during the break of sessions. The production of these cultural performances had engaged with 50 local people including local music bands, composers, Peresean art groups, cultural experts & kids theater club.
The online exhibition showcasing geoproducts, geosouvenirs and geotour packages were followed by various participants, including MSMEs, tour operators and partners. We encouraged communities and local businesses continue to be active in this difficult time.
The 7 Virtual Geotours packages were 5 geotrails from Rinjani-Lombok Geopark, 1 geotrail from Tambora National Geopark and 1 geotrail from Poso Lake community.
As the first Geotourism virtual event in Indonesia, Geotourism Festival 2020 gained some appreciations from UNESCO Office Jakarta, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Republic of Indonesia, Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment of Indonesia, and communities in geoparks as a sign of Geoparks resiliency in pandemic situation.
Rinjani-Lombok Geopark will follow up this event with training of Geotourism Interpreters for virtual & conventional events, collaborating with local communities to develop at least 10 virtual geotour packages and virtual geotours for school students in Indonesia related to conservation and disaster resilience.