19 Oct Collaborative Research into Community-Led Mangrove Tours in Nusa Lembongan

Mangrove forests are a key piece of healthy marine ecosystems, providing crucial habitats for fish nurseries and assisting in absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Beyond this, the beauty found in their tangled roots and natural silence provides an opportunity for ecotourism. These forests offer the perfect setting for tourists to witness diverse mangrove species and the many creatures living in harmony with them. 

On the north side of Nusa Lembongan lies a community-led mangrove tour run by the people of Surya Mandiri Community Group. The community works to provide visitors with an immersive experience and the guide collective shares the profit they receive equitably. During the tour, visitors can experience the true serenity of this ecosystem while rowing through the mangroves in a traditional boat. At the end of the tour, visitors can expect to emerge from the forest to a striking view of Gunung Agung (Mt. Agung) across the water.

For a week in August 2023, five members of the CTC team, in partnership with the Surya Mandiri Community Group, led a social survey to gauge the satisfaction of tourists participating in this experience. The goal of this survey was to understand how the community can alter their tourism practices to improve visitor satisfaction and ecological practices with continued support from CTC. 

Over the course of the week, the CTC team spoke to 114 tourists from 22 countries who provided valuable feedback about their experience with the community-led mangrove tour. The surveyors asked visitors to provide feedback on possible improvements to the tour experience, the appropriateness of pricing, what they found most memorable, and asked visitors to rate their overall level of satisfaction. Each answer provided valuable insight to CTC and the community about what visitors enjoy and how things can improve. 

CTC staff and members of the Surya Mandiri Community Group were met with many happy faces emerging from the mangrove tour. Visitors enthusiastically shared their experiences with surveyors, highlighting the wonders of this ecosystem and how unique it was to experience this with the local community. One tourist stated, “the most memorable part of my tour was the silence and the navigation skills of the boat operator,” while another said, “the most memorable part of the tour was the mangrove roots because they are like no tree I have ever seen.” 

Notably, a high number of visitors expressed how they did not expect the silence they experienced in the forest, which was widely enjoyed. The dense mangroves in Nusa Lembongan absorb the sounds from the outside world, allowing visitors to really appreciate the sounds of this ecosystem. A common request was for a greater amount of information delivered throughout the tour, which is an improvement that will require addressing language barriers. Suggestions from community members to address this included the creation of multi-lingual pamphlets in the most frequently encountered languages. Overall, visitors expressed their appreciation for this unique tour and the immersive way it allowed them to witness this beautiful ecosystem.

The information gained throughout the week provided valuable insight into the success of the community-led tour and the areas for improvement. CTC, in collaboration with the community, has begun to take steps towards increasing capacity to improve current tourism practices. With the data collected, CTC is committed to continuing to help the Surya Mandiri Community improve its practices to ensure a future mangrove tour that remains sustainable, profitable, and enjoyable for those visiting. 

Writer: Tess Noone
Photos: Tess Noone, Arapa Efendi/CTC

No Comments

Post A Comment

Coral Triangle Center