What Responsible Tourism Can Look like in Sumba

While their coastline undergoes land development, Sumbanese youth get an opportunity to train for growing tourism.

Meet Jeffry, your friendly host on the beautiful island of Sumba.

Located near Bali, Indonesia, Sumba’s stunning coastline and lush greenery makes it an appealing attraction for travellers looking for a more rustic experience.   

As the island develops into a tourist destination, the local community that is made up of mainly farmers, have little opportunity to reap the economic benefits of tourism without viable skills.

Sumba Hospitality Foundation has a strong vision for responsible tourism in the region.

It welcomes visitors to stay at their on-campus hotel school which includes five beautiful, bamboo guest pavilions tended to by students. All proceeds help fund the school’s programme.

During their stay, visitors are encouraged to interact with the students to learn more about Sumba, or share any experiences that will be of value to the students.

The school aims to set itself as an example for sustainable tourism on the island and beyond. It is powered entirely by solar energy.

The foundation offers scholarships to promising Sumbanese youth like Jeffry, to be trained at the Sumba Hospitality School for future employment in the hospitality industry.

Only 40 students from all over Sumba are hand-picked every year to attend the immersive one-year programme, where they are mentored by industry professionals.    

The programme is targeted at underprivileged high school graduates who would otherwise not have the opportunity to pursue higher education.

Students not only acquire vocational skills, they also learn English, personal development, and permaculture farming, so that they can share with their communities back home.    

Issues of malnutrition in children and youth are prevalent in Sumba, and acceptance to the school comes with full boarding, meals, and healthcare.

To inspire other communities with the foundation’s model, its founder, Inge De Lathauwer, boldly chose to kickstart this project in the least resourced region of Sumba.

The students each have personal ambitions they’re working towards.

Jeffry dreams that “one day I can build a decent house for my parents to stay in their old age.”

Sumba Hospitality Foundation offers him a significant step forward.

About Sumba Hospitality Foundation

Sumba Hospitality Foundation in Indonesia is a resort-school that trains local youth in hospitality skills, to prepare them for the tourism industry in Sumba. Forty students - typically from underprivileged backgrounds - were selected in the initial years, and this has grown to 60 students.



Juliana Tan

Director of Photography

Shyan Tan

Art Director

Joyce Li & Chen Weiyan

Video Editor

Huiying Yueh

Photographer & Producer

Grace Baey

Executive Producer

Denise Oliveiro