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Hospitality Management professor helps Indonesian community document the impact of tsunami

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Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto, Assistant Professor of Hospitality Management spent the summer in Banten Province, Indonesia collaborating on a joint international research project with Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia. Cahyanto was part of the interdisciplinary team for “Visualizing Resilience: Assessing the Impacts of the 2018 Tsunami on Banten’s Tourism-Based Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)”. He provided expertise in tourism, disaster management, and photo elicitation methods.

The research team examined the impact of the December 2018 tsunami in Banten that claimed the lives of 437 people, injured 31,943, and left 16,198 displaced. The tsunami occurred during a long holiday while the area was crowded with tourists and locals. One of the hardest-hit areas was Tanjung Lesung beach, a lively tourist destination with hotels lining the coast. Most residents in the area rely on tourism for their livelihood.

Cahyanto and his colleagues from Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia created a photovoice project for residents to document how the tsunamis affected their local tourism industry, impacted the economy, and showcased the resilience of their community. The photovoice project included photography trainings for residents which included how to take photos with their cell phone then upload their pictures and narratives to Survey123. The photo-taking process required four weeks, after which photo-elicitation interviews were held with the participants to discuss their photos.

“Taking pictures to document their lives is not only therapeutic for the survivors but also empowering,” Cahyanto said. “This project allows local residents most impacted by the tsunamis to have a voice and provides policymakers information to generate solutions to the issues generated by tourism-related crises.” 

In the Spring of 2020, a exhibition of the photos will be held in Jakarta and Banten to inform policymakers on how the residents lives and livelihoods have been affected by the tsunami. The exhibit will depict how the residents coped to keep their small tourism businesses open following the tsunami.

Photo: UL Lafayette assistant professor Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto leads a group of residents from Banten Province, Indonesia in a photovoice project to document the impact of tsunamis on local tourism.