INDONESIA – Local advocate wants locals to benefit more from West Manggarai tourism

Ica Marta Muslin, 35, from Manggarai regency is quite an influential figure on the local tourism scene.

Working for the Wicked Diving foundation as community project manager, she has encouraged and assisted Labuan Bajo residents in West Manggarai regency to become dive masters. Up to six people have received funding from the foundation for the required training. Four of them have become dive masters and two are now working as adventure guides.

Ica is also an active advocate in West Manggarai. Alongside local communities, she has joined peaceful movements and campaigns that focus on tourism, such as fighting to keep Pede Beach a public space. Her statements could also be found in mass media, as she insisted that locals should get more benefits from the region’s tourist industry.

“I have been working in tourism my whole life. I’m actually a law graduate [from Warmadewa University in Bali] who decided to enter the tourism scene. Learning from my previous experience in Bali, I think that locals should not be cast aside from the tourist industry; they should get more benefits from it,” she recently told The Jakarta Post in Labuan Bajo.

Previously a restaurant manager in Karma Bali in 2009, Ica said she returned to Flores as she felt the need to aid in its development. Fortunately, there was a vacancy at a business-oriented independent foundation for international development cooperation Swisscontact in Flores. She later applied and was accepted.

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