SHOP LOCAL: Start-up gives Real Indonesia experience

Real Indonesia’s Fiona Bettesworth want people to have a genuine experience of the country. Picture Jon Bassett
Real Indonesia’s Fiona Bettesworth want people to have a genuine experience of the country. Picture Jon Bassett

CRAWLEY-based start-up travel tour company Real Indonesia wants to provide a genuine experience while benefiting the residents of Indonesia.

“Real Indonesia’s travel experiences are designed in conjunction with local villagers, allowing them the opportunity to present their culture to visitors in the way they wish that remains respectful towards their traditions,” founder Fiona Bettesworth (28) said.

The company is based at the IQX innovation centre and business incubator at UWA. It is working on an alternative to mass tourism for the villagers who live away from the built-up areas of Bali.

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Mohinder Jaimangal from Curve (third from left) at IQX. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d491028

Since starting 18 months ago, Real Indonesia has concentrated on organising groups of two to 14 people who visit a village and may go into a family temple, a home or plough rice fields with a buffalo.

“This is in contrast to tours and day trips run by mass tourism operators, which commodify the traditions and culture of local villagers to enable them to sell an identical travel experience to a mass market,” Ms Bettesworth said.

After learning Indonesian at high school, Ms Bettesworth lived in the country in 2011.

It was then she realised that if it wasn’t for being able to speak the language, she would not have got close to the people and places that made Bali special.

“We partner with local organisations on the ground in Indonesia to design and deliver unique, educational and immersive experiences that showcase the diverse heritage, rich history and remarkable beauty that can be found beyond the tourist strips of Bali,” she said.