The Sumba Hospitality Foundation is located on the remote island of Sumba in the East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia. It was founded by Inge de Lathauwer and Aloysius Purwa (who also owns the Mario Hotel Sumba next to the hotel school). Their mission is to “Educate and help develop understanding for sustainability”.
The development of tourism on remote islands is a tricky thing to talk about. On the one hand it’s an opportunity for local economy to grow but on the other hand the preservation of an untouched environment and a unique culture is at stake. The island of Sumba, located in the Indonesian archipelago, illustrates perfectly this paradox.
The charm of Sumba is discovered by more and more foreign visitors every year, some of which also buy land (see: Sumba land for sale & on our blog) and bring up hotel building projects. The limited access to water and electricity slows the progression of these businesses that could be in some way regarded as a chance. Indeed, as tourism is definitely an asset for the island, Sumbanese have to learn how to handle it. This is where the Sumba Hospitality Foundation intervenes. Its aim is it to make the upcoming tourism business profitable for the local Sumbanese people so they can make the most out of it. By educating the students in all the different aspects of the tourism industry with a focus on the importance of sustainability, the Sumba Hospitality Foundation endeavours to do just that.
The Sumba Hospitality Foundation wants to educate skilled young workers so tourism becomes more of an asset than a burden for the Sumbanese. This is why the organisation just opened a brand new Hotel School in Sumba last summer. The Sumba Hospitality Foundation welcomes now 40 students between the age of 17 and 23 coming from unprivileged backgrounds.
The young Sumbanese receive a complete hospitality education including farming, housekeeping, cooking and hospitality management teachings amongst others.
English is one of the most important class (daily community classes are even given freely to local inhabitants) but the students also receive hygiene and sexual education.
Sustainability is thereby an overall principle of every part of the project. The school itself acts on sustainable guidelines.
The Sumba Hospitality foundation aims to be soon self-sufficient relying on renewable energy, permaculture, etc… An organic farm supplies the restaurant, solar panels and a water cleaning system are amongst the great eco-friendly things that have been built so far.
The program also includes an internship in 4 and 5 star hotels.
The Sumba Hospitality team is so enthusiastic into teaching the students to create an unique atmosphere in the Hotel as well as in the school.
The beauty of the traditional Sumbanese architecture of the school building go hand in hand with the magical atmosphere of Sumba island (see this video of west Sumba).
A strong link was created between the international teachers and the students who are all so proud of being part of this meaningful program that will eventually opens many doors for their career.
Students have the opportunity to put their knowledge into practice compliments to the five cottages and the restaurant within the school. Thanks to the “donate while you sleep” program, tourists are able to stay at the hotel and enjoy the organic restaurant while helping students to progress.
It looks like the Sumba Hospitality Foundation invented a great way to teach sustainable tourism.
The Bedforest team is very proud of having spent some time at the Sumba Hospitality Foundation and help support this inspiring project.