During the AAI program in Labuan Bajo I joined two site visits, which remarkably enhanced the participants with important issues to consider in tourism planning. The first one was the visit to the coastal area of Labuan Bajo, where the centre of tourism businesses is located. As this area is one of my research settings, therefore, I am enhanced with sufficient descriptions about it. I highlighted some tourism development issues to some participants. This is expected to give them insights on how to develop a better planning of tourism destination in the future. The second was the visit to Waecicu Resort to meet Nina Van Toulone, an environmental activist. The presentations about environment and homestay gave us good lessons. This occasion also appeared to be productive because it promotes better connections among the local stakeholders (the participants) and they managed to identify some problems that have hampered the process of tourism development.

Although I did not have an opportunity to present my research, I was excited to have chances to share my data collection process and findings to some groups of participants. I also had some good opportunities to share my experience of studying in Australia. In the session of projects presentation, I involved in a group discussion and gave them inputs about how they can develop projects that can be achieved in a certain period of time. During the presentations, Professor Noel gave a significant assistance to all participants in reshaping their projects into more logic and achievable ones. Unfortunately, I could not join the rest of the programs. However, being involved in this project has enabled me to enlarge my connections with numbers of important people whom will be significant for both my research and academic career.

Photo gallery of the event:

This article was written by Griffith Institute for Tourism PHD candidate Aldi Lasso.