The co-founder and manager of P.T. Papua Diving Resorts, Max Ammer, is “very positive” and “happy” about the answer the Raja Ampat Resorts Association got from the local authorities in the Workshop on Sustainable Tourism in the Raja Ampat, organized by the Raja Ampat regency in Waisai last Wednesday.
“I expected more in the past, which unfortunately didn’t happen, so I am happy there is a new step set for the future, and I am positive about it,” he underlined.
Otto Awom, who has been working for PT Papua Diving Resorts as dive guide manager/dive manager for over 20 years and also fighting for conservation, presented the association’s concerns about conservation. The workshop participants applauded him for his experience in the territory.
The regent of Raja Ampat, Abdul Faris Umlati, replied that a workshop to discuss some issues and to share knowledge will take place in two weeks.
The politician was also impressed when Max Ammer, who is also director of the Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Centre (RARCC), visualized what happen when someone anchors on a reef. He built a reef from glass materials, such as cups, vases, bowls and plates, and threw an anchor in the middle of it followed by a chain to show the destruction of the reefs caused by the lack of moorings in Raja Ampat.
Max Ammer was pleased to realise that the local authorities share the exclusive tourism strategy defined by the national authorities to implement in Raja Ampat.
During the workshop, the regent of Raja Ampat spoke about his plans to release electricity by placing PV panels or by ways of energy derived from the sea to all the villages in Raja Ampat within the next three years. He asked all the workshop participants to help to attract more people to the Marinda Airport at Waisai, and he talked about his plans to start tour packages in Manado and Raja Ampat. The politician wants to open an airfield in Misool, the southernmost one of Raja Ampat’s four main islands, too.
After he had heard the regent’s plans for Raja Ampat, observed that “most of these ideas are good,” but “it is important for us as an association to communicate to the local authorities the visitors’ view for the area.” For instance, he stressed out that “people come for the nature and for the empty beaches,” but if “the beaches are filled up with guesthouses, there are no more empty beaches” and the islands “look much like a city.”
The entrepreneur hopes that some good rules will be kept and others will be made. He underlined that PT Papua Diving has been investing in the local people from the beginning and it was “the first one to have a conservation organization in Raja Ampat,” the RARCC.
“I’m not saying that there is nothing to be improved in our organization, but at least we try to be as environmentally responsible as possible,” he mentioned, adding that, for instance, they already have solar panels in place, environmental septic systems and rainwater systems.