Could you tell us a little bit about Traveletc.id?
There are actually two reasons that underlie Traveletc.id. First, we see that traveling is no longer just about recharging, but has become some sort of a medium to express oneself. Travelling is no longer just about traveling but is a way to show one's identity.
Second, I worked for quite some time in the printed media industry, and at that time we saw that in print media, the creative freedom was somewhat lower than in digital media. Some friends, also feel the same problem, so we thought why not just make our own media?
Why do we call it Traveletc.id? etc means et cetera, so we want to show that there are many things related to travel. Our target audience are regular travelers and also those who want to express themselves by traveling. For example, if we were to travel to Bali next month, we would start buying things from now because we would want to take photos here and there. So we see that traveling is also related to style, to appearance, and that's why we say Traveletc.id is not just a travel media but a stylish travel media.
What are the hot topics in the travel sector in 2022?
Sustainable. This issue has actually been around for a long time even before the pandemic struck, yet this topic is only discussed abroad. But now with the pandemic, we see that the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism has started addressing the sustainability issues. We also see that many hotels are now starting to implement the concept of sustainability. There is waste treatment, and the restaurants are also using (materials from) local farmers, so their presence doesn't leave out the surrounding community but empowers them. This sort of sustainability problem is a global issue and, in the future, this can be a major issue in the tourism sector.
The second one is wellness. This issue has become more mainstream thanks to the pandemic. Before the pandemic, wellness tourism is dominated by foreigners. For example, lots of foreigners are willing to travel to Bali just to do yoga in Ubud, while local tourists might not really consider that kind of thing. But now, after the pandemic hit, we’ve started to think about wellness tourism. We're now starting to see people are willing to travel around just to try local cuisines or spices, and that is part of wellness tourism.
Lots of countries are now starting to ease travel restrictions, are we ready for more travel?
Yes and no. People are expecting tourism back to normal, yet not many tourist destinations are ready. For example, I recently went to the Pelabuhan Ratu area, Cimaja, which used to be famous for surfing.
Usually, there are lots of foreign tourists there but now it is only dominated by local tourists. I saw that people are longing for that place to be as busy as it used to be, but what can we say? We're just recovering from two years of pandemic that almost killed all businesses. Some restaurants, for example, are hoping to return to their busy days, yet they only have 2-3 employees left, so their services are now limited.
What I'm concerned about is that after two years of pandemic, those tourist destinations are just hustling. They're only after crowds without paying attention to safety and comfort aspects.
Do you have any travel destinations that you would like to visit?
I have always fallen in love with two places, Flores and Lombok. I like Flores not because of its nature, but because of its people. For me, Flores people might look scary but they have very kind hearts. So, if I have an opportunity to cover East Nusa Tenggara, I would definitely be the first to volunteer.
Meanwhile Lombok, I prefer the northern and Gili areas but it comes to the South with the existence of the Mandalika circuit, I'm a little less interested.
Mandalika circuit doesn't interest you?
Lombok, in terms of its nature, is like Bali, 30 years ago. Well, now that Mandalika is operational, the beach that was once beautiful is now covered with concrete. So, I'm not interested. But that is my personal take. If it (the existence of the Mandalika circuit) can further advance the community's economy, that would be great news. But as a tourist who prefers something natural, I prefer the old Lombok.