A precious jewel in the Indonesian archipelago, the island Flores, has a rich cultural history, breathtaking natural wonders and is blessed with excellent and innumerable options for adventure tourism.
Part of the eastern islands, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Flores is a beautiful, mountainous island stretching 360 km from east to west. It is part of a volcanic belt that stretches from Sumatra through Java and Bali to the Banda sea. The first contact for Florence with the outside world was recorded in the 12th century by Chinese sandalwood traders. In the 16th century, Portuguese traders and missionaries named the place ‘the cape of flowers’ for its beautiful underwater world of coral fish and other marine life.
Crystal clear waters, white and pink sandy beaches, jungle and mountains combined with a colourful parallel underwater world make this a truly remarkable place.
Eco Flores actively wants to save this cultural and natural heritage.
Eco Flores is a Foundation working for the sustainable development of Flores, which is also one of the three lesser developed areas in Indonesia, located in the Coral Triangle and home of the Komodo Varaan, one of the World Wonders of Nature. In 2009, 15.000 tourists visited the island, and the government is aiming at 175.000 visitors for 2013; This has a massive impact on the environment and the local population.
Eco Flores Foundation aims to:
– Define sustainability issues on Flores at present and in the foreseen future;
– Identify local and international initiatives working for the sustainability of Flores;
– Facilitate cooperation and sharing of expertise. The foundation publicizes local sustainability initiatives and funding needs on the Eco Flores website, connect local sustainability initiatives and projects in similar areas of work, and combine sustainability efforts across Flores to foster sharing of experiences, resources, and best practices.
How do they achieve to do that? Eco Flores, as its name suggests, promotes ecotourism, that means that visitors are aware of the responsibility they have through locals and the environment. Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel, this means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:
– Minimize impact.
– Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
– Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
– Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
– Provide economic benefits and empowerment for local people.
– Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.
On Flores, as in the rest of Indonesia, life is centred around three relationships:
– between man and his God;
– between man in his environment;
– between man and his fellow man.
All tourism attractions/activities in Flores focus around those three relationships. All cultural rituals and tradition of old religious practices are linked to those relationships.
Understanding those three relationships will make a trip to Flores more interesting; it not just a travelling, but an opportunity for deep-down learning and knowing the high value of Flores.
On their website www.ecoflores.org, you find projects in various fields related to sustainability.
All projects involve remarkable partners such as Florenese national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations, universities, scientists, companies with CSR Program and concerned individuals. Currently, they’re looking for funding for several projects; to learn more, have a look at www.ecoflores.org.