When Harald asked me how Sumba has been treating me so far, I wasn’t really able to answer that question. Actually, I was somehow speechless and I told him that I needed some time to properly formulate my thoughts and feelings. So here I am!

It has been a wonderful experience joining the International Field Project for the second time. Not because I didn’t pass the second year, but simply because I had the opportunity to join the IFP for my thesis. Tourism and Indonesia are basically what I live for. It sounds cheesy, I know, but a combination of the two instantly brings me the drive and motivation to learn about, and explore, all that’s out there. I was eager to explore yet another part of the country where my mother was born. The thing is, while doing international research, you talk to people you normally wouldn’t talk to as a tourist. Examples include regents, Nihiwatu (the best hotel in the world), business owners and heads of schools. You get to know about the destination’s foundation, where it stands on. Its people, their cultural values, history, but also about the different business dynamics and environmental implications. This just makes it all so interesting.

Let me tell you a little bit about Sumba. It is an island located in Eastern Indonesia and among the poorest regions of the country. Malaria is evident and basic infrastructure is still under development. Tourism is still in its infancy and this basically means that wherever you go there are still many ‘untouched’ natural areas, like phenomenal waterfalls and stunning beaches which you share just with a few locals. This gives you the feeling that nature is flawless. Let’s see what will happen when tourism increases. At least there is a sustainable tourism coalition with important stakeholders who are aiming to guide tourism into the right direction.

I’m almost reaching the end of my data collection period here. To close off and to support my fellow study mates, I will become the master of ceremony of next Monday’s stakeholder meeting at the local government of Southwest Sumba. Thanks for reading and keep in touch!

Written by: Nike

P.S. want to know more about my thesis on community involvement and responsible innovation? Come to the thesis presentations on July 5th!