Eighteen students and two staff from the University of Westminster travelled to Indonesia for a nine-day field trip to study community tourism with local students from the University of Pancasila.

The trip was supported by the Ministry of Tourism in Indonesia and two-thirds of the expenses were covered by The Quintin Hogg Trust . Run jointly with the University of Pancasila, the trip was the first formal collaboration between the two institutions after they signed a Memorandum of Understanding during an international visit in August 2016.

The group, which hosted students from eleven countries, stayed in homestay accommodation in Ngadas Village in East Java, where they were able to consider different aspects of community tourism in the village and in Mount Bromo, having experienced it first-hand themselves.

Working with fellow students from the University of Pancasila, Westminster students met staff from a non-governmental organisation looking to develop tourism in rural areas. Together they also interviewed local people involved in the tourism industry, including local leaders, homestay owners, jeep drivers and horsemen.

Speaking about the experience, one student said: “Immersing ourselves in a completely different culture and having to live a life different than the one we’re used to. I think it’s very important to experience it in order to humble ourselves. I absolutely loved meeting the people and seeing to what great lengths they go to make us, tourists, happy and content. Their hospitality and welcoming behaviour is what made me the happiest.”

They used this knowledge and their own experiences to prepare presentations focused on Partnerships, Cultural and Environmental Preservation, Community Participation, and Managing Tourist Experiences. Their presentations will be used to inform key players in the local tourism industry.

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Speaking about the benefits of the trip, another student said: “Field trips always help a lot more than lectures ever could and I’m very grateful to have had this opportunity. It’s really interesting to see how people lead their day-to-day lives that directly impact the tourism in their village.

“It was also extremely interesting to speak to the association representatives and see why they do what they do. For me it was very rewarding to know that our presentations would be taken into account, hence why me and my group put a lot of effort to provide realistic recommendations which helped us further understand how the community tourism works and what are the main aspects.”

In their free time, students enjoyed watching the sunset over Mount Bromo and hiking up to the crater of the volcano, they also engaged in welcome and farewell ceremonies with the local villagers.    

The trip also facilitated the development of a research collaboration between Dr Nancy Stevenson from the University of Westminster and Dr Devi Kauser from the University of Pancasila. Entitled Developing Tourism Industry and Host Community Resilience through Crisis and Disaster Management Planning, the project aims to investigate tourists’ propensity to travel to destinations that have experienced crises or disaster. It has been funded by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education and will inform a larger project on disaster management in Indonesia.

With students from 165 countries, staff from across the world and a highly international alumni community, the University of Westminster embraces global engagement in all its forms. We have a rich mix of international partnerships in over 20 countries worldwide, and place particular emphasis on providing international opportunities for our students. Our research addresses global themes and is sustained by international collaborations. We are an international institution, located in the heart of London.

Find out more about the Tourism and Events courses offered at the University of Westminster.

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