Tourism in North Nias today
Most people visiting North Nias today are surfers heading for the waves on the west-coast or people involved in various development projects on Nias. Tourism in North Nias is very much in the pioneering stages. At the moment the northern part of the island probably sees less foreign travellers than other parts of Nias. This doesn’t mean that we have less to offer; on the contrary the north has more beaches, islands and wild nature than any other part of the Island.
North Nias is an uncut gem and it requires a bit more time and effort than your typical tourism destination. Travelling on Nias is like travelling used to be when the first backpackers explored South East Asia. Before places like Phuket, Ko Samoi, Langakwi and Bali became mass-tourism destinations. If you want to experience what those islands looked like 30-40 years ago you should definitively come to Nias.
Roads less travelled can be rough – most people don’t speak English, maybe not even Indonesian in some parts of Nias. Accommodation and food can be pretty basic. But if you can live without air-conditioning, Wi-Fi and fast food restaurants for a few days you should be fine. We welcome any and all adventurous explorers, roaming wanderers and inquisitive travelers who want to experience a very special corner of Indonesia!
Outside of subsistence agriculture and fishery there is very little economic activity in North Nias. The government is by far the largest employer. People are not starving, but economically they are lagging behind the rest of Indonesia. Poverty impacts many areas; health, education and the environment to name a few. Economic development is vital for the people of Nias in order to live what most people would call a decent life. Tourism could be one of the ways of developing the economy in a sustainable way.
The idea is not to turn Nias into a new mass tourism destination. We want Nias to enjoy the same benefits of tourism that the rest of the world do. If one in ten jobs on Nias were linked to tourism, this could mean tens of thousands of job opportunities on the island.
Tourism, planned and developed in a good way, can be an important tool for poverty reduction and sustainable development of Nias Island.
What kind of tourism do we want?
Developing tourism is a learning process. Fortunately there are many examples, both good and bad, around Asia that we can learn from. North Nias will strive to develop sustainable tourism that is viable long term and have positive outcomes for the local community. This means job opportunities, development of local skills and capacity, increased trade for local businesses, improved infrastructure and intercultural exchange. We don’t want our young people to leave Nias because there is no future for them here.
It is well known that tourism can have negative impacts as well. Careful planning and monitoring of tourism development should strive to avoid negative environmental and social impacts. It is also important to make sure that the local community can participate in the tourism economy and benefit from it.
We want to work together with anyone who shares this vision of sustainable tourism development on Nias.
Learn more about tourism on the rest of Nias Island on: www.visitniasisland.com
You can help us!
Every traveller to North Nias brings much needed revenue to the region. Everything you buy and every service you use gives locals an incentive to be part of the tourism economy. Guest houses, restaurants and guides can’t survive without regular customers. But more importantly your stay here shows local people that Nias is a special place and something to be proud of. Local tourism providers also need outside ideas on how to improve, from people like you.
What is being done to develop tourism in North Nias?
The North Nias Government is actively engaging with development organisations and the private sector in order to facilitate tourism development. So what is actually being done right now?
- North Nias Government officials regularly participate in national and regional tourism conferences and workshops in order to learn about current best practise in tourism development.
- In 2013-2015 two Australian government sponsored tourism advisors from the AVID program (Australian Volunteers for International Development) worked at the tourism department, providing capacity building and technical advice.
- The first tourism site survey of North Nias was completed in 2014. The survey covers over 100 potential tourism sites. This information is very useful for tourism planners and investors.
- The North Nias Tourism Department have conducted a promotional campaign aiming at raising the profile of North Nias as a tourism destination by developing a website and using various social media application such as Facebook, Google+ Pinterest and Google Maps.
- A tourism stream is now being taught at a vocational college in Lotu, North Nias.
- North Nias Government officials regularly conduct famil trips for investors and organisations interested in developing tourism projects in North Nias.
Learn more; check out our Tourism Office activities image gallery or look us up on Facebook.