The Economy of Raja Ampat Residents Boosted Due to The Development of Tourist Destination
The enchantment of Raja Ampat, which has been famous throughout the world, brings many foreign and local tourists to visit there just to fill vacation time or channel a hobby of snorkeling and diving.
The wealth of marine life and the beauty of its small islands scattered from Waisai, Misool Islands, Salawati, Gam to Waigeo, have been known as one of the attractive tourist destinations, to get the nickname paradise.
Raja Ampat’s celebrity is what makes many investors glance at these tourist destinations to compete in building lodging, ranging from home stay style to resorts. Some even offer lodging on the Pinisi ship.
Not only investors, the opportunity also brings blessings to local residents who inhabit every island in the Raja Ampat Islands. The majority of residents come from the descendants of the Biak Numfor tribe, peddling anything that can attract tourists.
As seen in Sawinggrai Village, some residents use their homes as home stays at affordable rates. The price is not even up to Rp. 500 thousand. Locals are also known to be very friendly to tourists who visit there. Even local children are also taught to welcome tourists with various songs using ukulele and tifa instruments.
While in Piaynemo, local residents also peddle live walnut crabs and young coconuts. If after climbing the peak of Piaynemo, tourists can buy and enjoy the fresh young coconut water on the Piaynemo pier which is sold at a price of Rp 15 thousand. That said, the walnut crab also tastes very good and tastes as good as eating lobster. The walnut crab itself is sold for Rp. 200 thousand for the small one.
When visiting Kampung Sauwandarek, local residents also peddled young coconuts, but the price was a little cheaper, which is Rp 10,000 per piece. Meanwhile, to taste a cup of coffee there the price is also not much different from in other areas in Papua, only Rp 5,000.
After Sauwandarek, the last spot is Friwen Beach, a beach that offers clear sea water and soft sand. On Friwen Beach, tourists can eat the delicious fried bananas accompanied by a cup of coffee, or for those who are already very hungry, can while enjoying brewed noodles. Local residents also sell it at a relatively cheap price, fried bananas Rp 2 thousand, coffee 5-10 thousand and Rp 10 thousand brewed noodles.
When there are many tourists, local residents at Friwen Beach can make a profit of Rp 3 million per day. But when it is quiet like the wave season, residents only get a modest profit.
“If it’s like now, tourists are not too crowded. If it’s very crowded, we can get a lot of profit. Well, we can get Rp. 3 million in one day,” said Mrs. Merry, one of the residents who has a selling cottage on the edge of Friwen Beach.
He said, he bought the merchandise or staples from Waisai City, the capital of Raja Ampat Regency. For example, he bought kerosene at a price of Rp 4 thousand per liter and rice for daily food was bought at a price of Rp 12 thousand per kilogram.
With the rise of tourists who continue to visit the Raja Ampat Islands, both foreign and local tourists, able to boost the economy of local residents. It also cannot be separated from the friendliness of the citizens who are so open and accepting tourists who visit.