Maite Deuchert

Responsible and Inclusive Business Hubs (RIBHs)

Unlocking the Power of Inclusive Tourism

East Asia and Pacific
29. Jan 2016

Roundtable on Multiplier Growth through Inclusive Tourism; Sankalp Forum Southeast Asia, November 19th, 2015 – Jakarta, Indonesia; Inclusive Tourism in Southeast Asia

Each year more than one billion people travel across international borders. Roughly the same number of people live on less than one USD per day. Inclusive business models bring these two groups together and create opportunities for both. The sector is an interface, where actors from many different disciplines along the value chain – from gastronomy, construction, maintenance, services, activities, crafts and transport to natural conservation – can leverage strategic partnerships to create mutually beneficial outcomes. This creates the basis for opportunities to jointly achieve positive impact, especially in rapidly growing tourism destinations such as Indonesia.


"Inclusive Tourism"
Left: Dr. Frans Teguh, Director of Destination Management and Tourism Investment, Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia Right: Mariska van Gaalen, Associate Expert at Endeva

To grasp these opportunities and promote Inclusive Tourism in Indonesia and across the region, Sankalp partnered with the Responsible and Inclusive Business Hub (RIBH) Southeast Asia to organise a roundtable session at the first Southeast Asia Summit. The session was attended by about 35 participants, ranging from tour operators to NGOs and other development partners. It was divided into four sections:

To set the scene, Dr. Frans Teguh, Director of Destination Management and Tourism Investment from the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, presented the government’s plan to increase the number of international tourists to 20 million by 2019.

After this glimpse into the near future of Indonesian tourism, Mariska van Gaalen, Associate Expert at Endeva, shared important learnings and some practical examples from her research with the audience. In 2014, the Responsible and Inclusive Business Hubs (RIBHs) partnered with Endeva to draft a practical guide to Inclusive Tourism titled Destination Mutual Benefit: A Guide to Inclusive Business in Tourism.

As the third speaker, Sunny Lam, Head of Marketing and “other fun things”, rounded the session up with his own fascinating account of working for the Thai Tourism Start-up Local Alike. Explaining their take on Community-Based Tourism (CBT) and the struggles and successes.

The presentations were followed by a lively discussion with and amongst the audience. Some of the key ideas shared were the following:

  • The tourism industry is strongly dependent on partnerships. The key for cooperation is to positively acknowledge the contribution each organization makes and to expand the room for collaboration jointly.
  • ‘Diversification’ is one way of promoting inclusive business practices and wide-spread economic growth. Diversification could be applied in terms of geography (i.e. moving away from only a few key destinations towards many), supply and distribution channels and customer ranges, amongst others.
  • There is no established procedure yet to measure the impact of inclusive tourism.
  • Practitioners should work together to establish best practices.
  • The key for successful partnerships is to visit the communities in their home environment and make sure they are genuinely willing to cooperate and that the business models work for them.
  • Support for communities to formalize their informal economic activities is also important to avoid potential exclusion of the poorest and to achieve sustainable economic growth.


"Inclusive Tourism"
Left: Sunny Lam, Head of Marketing and other fun things, Local Alike, Thailand Right: Participants of the Inclusive Tourism Roundtable Discussion

About the Organisers

The Responsible and Inclusive Business Hubs (RIBH) support companies and start-ups to develop sustainable, financially sound and mutually beneficial business model that benefit poor sections of the population. These so-called Inclusive Business Models integrate low-income people as consumers, producers, employees and business partners. RIBHs have been established in Jakarta, Cairo and Pretoria on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

This session was part of the inaugural Sankalp Southeast Asia Summit in Jakarta, which focussed on developing an effective India-Africa-Southeast Asia innovation and knowledge corridor to create a more collaborative ecosystem for social entrepreneurs, while showcasing and identifying drivers to create innovative impact businesses.

All photos taken by Naho Kawashima