Local Wisdom and Local Tourism as a Way to Maintain Tourist Demography

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Local Wisdom is the embodiment of durability and ability to grow which manifested though the way of life, knowledge, and life strategies in the form of various activities undertaken by local communities to address various problem in the fulfillment of their needs, while preserving its culture (Kartawinata, 2011). This study aims to analyze the role of youth in introducing Bataknese local wisdom. The method is by utilizing local tourism as the platform to introduce Bataknese Local Wisdom. The location of this tourism is located in Huta Tinggi, Pusuk Buhit, setting as the place for every tourist that comes to learn the Bataknese local wisdom as the nuance this location offers is really historical and traditional.

By learning the way of the people live there, it could be implemented and also bring benefit in the daily life of the tourists. The activities during the tour in Pusuk Buhit would be exciting to explore and to learn. However, the location needs a strategic management both in infrastructure as well as the human resource in terms of managing the tourism activity. Youth can share their knowledge and contribute in developing the local tourism and introducing the local wisdom, as they are innovative and always create fresh knowledge in making a strategy to manage this. For this reason, it could help to empower our tourism destinations and also the local wisdom for being sustainable.


It is well known that Indonesia is a country rich in cultural diversity. Each possesses valuable local wisdom rich of good values. Indonesia also has myriad of wonderful tourism objects. Among them North Sumatera with its famous Lake Toba provides various local wisdoms and many beautiful and unique tourism object, Lake Toba is as the largest and deepest lake over the South East Asia and as the second in the world after Victoria Lake in Africa. Syech Suhaimi, Head of Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) of North Sumatera (Analisa Daily, 2018) reported that the number of foreign tourists visited Lake Toba in August 2018 reached 23.430 visitors.

Lake Toba is known as the land of Bataknese, particularly Batak Toba. Batak consists of 7 sub-ethnics – Toba, Karo, Pakpak, Simalungun, Mandailing and Angkola. Each of them yields distinct culture as well as local wisdom. This paper will introduce the Batak Toba local wisdoms through local tourism, particularly to attract millennials. Tourism is chosen as the entry point as more and more millenials are likely travelling all over the world. However, being very open to global culture, many millennials tend to less understand and aware of their own culture. It is expected that by receiving more information on the local wisdom and cultures, the millenials will be prouder and preserve the local heritages.


Local Wisdom

Local Wisdom is the embodiment of durability and ability to grow which manifested though the way of life, knowledge, and life strategies in the form of various activities undertaken by local communities to address various problem in the fulfillment of their needs, while preserving its culture (Kartawinata, 2011). Local Wisdom contained social norms and values that govern how a balance should be established between the carrying capacity of the natural environment and the life style and needs of human beings. Therefore, Soerjani (2005 in Cahyanto, 2012) explains that exploring and developing local knowledge could also help maintaining resource sustainability for the next generation.

Local (domestic) Tourism

Tourism is a bundle of activities away from home which brings a travel experience covering many hospitality services provided for individuals or groups. Local Tourism or Domestic Tourism is tourism involving residents of one country travelling only within that country. According to the United Nation World Tourism Organization (WTO), there are some characteristic about domestic tourists. Domestic tourist know destination, its language, its customs, its laws, its climate, its cultural context in which this may have two consequences such as in general rule the domestic tourists are more demanding especially when it comes to the quality of products, and also with regard to their consumer-protection rights and out of the four main motivations of tourist (discovery, encountering others, experiencing something unique, resting) the last two are certainly prominent among domestic tourists.

In addition, they also seek a very wide diversity of types of destinations and tourism activities. In other words, the range of products offering should be as broad as possible. Overall the domestic tourism cost much lower in which the domestic travelers seek the best price-quality ratio, or often the lowest possible price, in all segments of the tourism value chain such as: Food, service, tourism activities shopping and etc.

Bataknese Local Wisdom in Pusuk Buhit

According of the belief of Bataknese people, water is the beginning of life. Exactly, according to Parmalim, Bataknese’s ancient religious belief, approximately on 30 BC, King Ihat Manisia and Boru Ihat Manisia, Bataknese’s noble progenitor, were created by the combination of goddess’s holly water. The body where human is born should be introduced to their original place – that is water. Martutuaek means coming through the water resource and introducing a newly-born being to the water which is the primary of the source of life. In Bataknese, as a message from King Ihat Manisia and Boru Ihat Manisia, mankinds are obliged to protect all elements on earth. Furthermore, that is becoming the reminder for preserving waters such as river, lake, and sea from being contaminated by the waste.

Everytime citizens there build any new house in the village, they will hold the ceremony of “Mompo”, which means entering the house for the first time. Before the owner/s of the house get/s into the house officially, they must fulfill the first procedure by bringing water into the house one day before, and this is called as “Panguhatan”. Panghuatan is the source of water on ground pot but nowadays they change the container into a bucket or a pail. Along with it, they also bring “sipusipu” which means small embers that is still alive until the next day the owner of the house gets inside of the house and doing the cooking. Here, the belief says that they have found their life resource which is “water” and source of energy which is the “small embers”.

Buhit and Batu Hobon is potential to be a high-quality tourism destination. This could be the biggest opportunity for North Sumatera to increase the income through tourism and to introduce the local wisdom there. The next question is that how to maximize and utilize these opportunities? Our answer is by maximizing the strengths that Pusuk Buhit and Batu Hobon have. Who will conduct the strategy? We focus to deal with doer and vice versa – it means youth and government are the key to maximize these opportunities. We combine youth and government to help the local tourism through SWOT analysis.

The location of Batu Hobon is in Pusuk Buhit and in Pusuk Buhit we are not only able to find Batu Hobon but also other things, e.g. the statue of Bataknese’s King as one of their cultural heritages. The nuance this location provides is really historical as it was the exact location of the origin of Batak’s civilization – no wonder it is so historical. Another thing is that this location is still traditional and does not utilize technology for advance. No wonder that it makes the location is still pure and most activity is still done in traditional way by maximizing the traditional materials around the location. In fact, local wisdom is still so much being practiced in here. They still uphold the idea of local wisdom in their daily life. This traditional nuance could bring the good effect for every tourist that comes to Pusuk Buhit.

Furthermore, this is the very place that we can learn thoroughly about Batak and Bataknese there as well as applying their local wisdom to daily lives. This local tourism is the potential to be the center of destination of learning Bataknese deeply and therefore to be the most powerful destination. In fact, as we have mentioned above, this place also has historical that makes people experience themselves the real of Bataknese. In addition, this location has a good reputation and has no bad or negative report published in the media so far. It is proven by report by Spotlight in Trans 7, one of Indonesia’s TV stations. Educative tourism through local tourism leads to introduce youth especially ьillenials out there to be acknowledged more or deeper about the local wisdom themselves.

Then again, we need more attention to help Pusuk Buhit to get rid of the weakness such as bad infrastructure, less promotion as well as the lack of practical regulation. Firstly, the infrastructures there need to be noticed considering the mobility of people is very bad there – proven by the fact that we should take off our shoes to get into the location, lack of lights as well as signposts, in addition, we also need to get there around 15 minutes (or more) by foot - without transportation. In this case, people and government need to collaborate regarding to the regulation about infrastructure to enhance the mobility there. Secondly, we need to maximize the marketing strategy of Pusuk Buhit. According to our opinion, technologies and people, especially youth should be walking together. In fact, many foreigners recognize Toba Lake because of virtual marketing. For promotion, there are 2 (two) options; we can use physical promotion, for example open-booth campaign, or via virtual promotion. Thirdly, Practical Regulation needs to be improved. It needs to be considered for this place to strive to be an amazing place of destination.

Then, we have to define the solution to minimize threats by combining the opportunities and strengths that we have analyzed. We have done defining its strengths. Now, we have to maximize both of the opportunities and strengths. Firstly, we have known that Lake Toba is the most famous destination in North Sumatra. It serves many affordable of accommodation as well as various facilities such as banana boat and coastline and has better mobility, which are just unlike Pusuk Buhit. Secondly, Lack of human resources makes the place remained unmaintained - unlike Lake Toba which is facilitated and monitored constantly by government. Thirdly, the cost to create the new regulation would cost so many. According to our opinion, we need to collaborate with the local wisdom regulation by utilizing the crowd or tourisms to pay served facilities. On the other hand, how can we improve it if the location doesn’t use technologies, such as WIFI? We believe that there are many ways to cater those problems. We have discussed and come to the solution by maximizing the strengths and realize the potentials to the world even if the government does not really promote this destination. One day we can see this destination as center of education of Bataknese local wisdom. Under theory of S.P.I.N and 7P, which will be explained below, as well as the millennials as participants function as support systems as well as the target market, we hope that Pusuk Buhit can be one of the most powerful destination of local wisdom.

What is S.P.I.N selling?

Briefly, SPIN Selling is a sales theory developed through a research study made by Huthwaite Inc.. SPIN works from the theory that relationship selling is customer-centric - this theory emphasizes to builds an appetite for the product. SPIN is an acronym for the four types of questions that lead to good rapport, interest and ultimately sales. It requires you to adapt your selling process to your customer, and it delivers personal solutions. SPIN selling focuses on four areas—Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff.

Spin Selling Analysis

The Situation

The Situation refers to the real situation the location provides and/or offers. According to our opinion, the strengths and weaknesses of the local tourism itself as we have analyzed above visualize the situation of the location itself. The table above has shown the strengths and weaknesses this location possesses.

The problem

The problem focuses at challenges, shortcomings, and difficulties. The weaknesses we have analyzed above are the problems.

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The Implication

This stage is designed to explore the implications of those problems. The existing weaknesses are potential and/or indeed the threats to this location.

The Need-payoff

The final step is to define the need payoff. What offering does this location need and what is the payoff for acquiring this solution? In this step we develop awareness by focusing on solutions and not problems anymore, conducting investigations or extracting from clear needs.

The Combination of SPIN Selling Theory with 7P Theory

According to our discussion, strategic 7P is the effective solution. 7P consists of product, price, promotion, process, physical evidence, place, and people. The product is Pusuk Buhit and Batu Hobon with its local wisdom, rich heritage and unique characteristics they have within. The price of the tourism will be approximately fairly affordable, owing to the fact that this place is still traditional and pure and the key of this local tourism is the educative tourism. We can promote this local tourism by documentary as we have mentioned above as well as via social media. For the process, we have to maximize the potential of the tour guides. For physical evidence, this location offers comfortable and fresh atmosphere as well as historical and traditional nuance. The place is located not so far from Lake Toba, the competitor. The people there are friendly and welcoming. This strategic marketing can be supported by inbound marketing to attract more and more visitors to know and therefore to visit this local tourism – via social media, landing page, content marketing, blog, marketing automation, email marketing, SEO.

We are clear on who we are and who we are not. Then, we are what we say. Last but not least, we consciously put ourselves out (3C THEORY, which consists of clarity, consistency, and constancy). By that means, we can think of solution. We have to know our customer first, by approaching them by digital marketing and/or physical marketing. According to marketing map, we have to set and therefore rely to market research, brand survey, as well as social media analysis. Next, is that we have to understand the buyer persona, in which in this case is millennials. Then, we have to know what we need. According to GTCT Matrix, abbreviation for Goal – Topic- Channel – Target, we have to set first editorial lines, content matrix, added by physical attraction and engage “the potential”. Last is that we have to evaluate them.

The Role of Youth

Youth act as a bridge to achieve our vision which is to save Local Wisdom and Local Tourism. As youth, we can achieve to make our local wisdom is known to the world. Any contributions to local wisdom are showing how youth care to their culture. Many people took action in Local Wisdom Sector to preserve culture and maintain good health and economy. With one vision, we strive the humankind potential to its fullest toward local wisdoms, as we all know that Local wisdom and Local tourism are acting very influential to keep Indonesia as a tourism country, as it is well-known for its richness wisdom and therefore as a tourism country. A phenomenal quote from Soekarno, Indonesia’s first president, just enough to visualize how strong the power of youth is that it can make Soekarno will undoubtedly shake the world.

“Give me 1000 old man, I will undoubtedly rip Semeru from its root, give 10 youth, I will undoubtedly shake the world”. On the other hand, Indonesia is still a developing country. We believe that Indonesia can be a developed country - the fact is that Indonesia is on its way to be a developed country, in which it is predicted that Indonesia will be one in the upcoming 2030 (Ministry of Economy 2018) - if we focus to develop the youth as an agent of change. Contrarily, we are facing problems of less interested millennials to know about Indonesia’s local wisdom and local tourism. Many students in Indonesia only put their focus on preparing their own future. Meanwhile, they forget the importance to keep the nation’s local wisdom.

We may repeat the fact that Indonesia does not only have Borobudur Temple, nor Lake Toba as tourist attractions – there are thousands of potential places as well as its local wisdom they contain not highlighted and utilized, even some are left behind. This discussion proves that Local wisdom is able to walk along with the development of local tourism. If it is built by youth, then they can accelerate Indonesia’s economic growth.

It is popularly believed that culture has a significant effect on economic performance (Buruna, 1999). Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has devised a strategy to realize Indonesia Gold in 2045. The strategy is divided into three stages, each one decade. In the first phase (years 2015-2025), the government will strengthen the foundation through the development of infrastructure. Furthermore, in the second phase, approximately on the year of 2025-2035, the development of the processing industry. The construction of industries is believed to give additional value to the product in the country a positive impact on economic growth in Indonesia. While in the third phase, approximately on the year of 2035-2045, there will be a development that focuses on the service industry, especially in the tourism industry. These are what youth have to do to help our local tourism.

Youth as Ambassador of Local Tourism

Focus to develop youth by focusing the local wisdom and technology will result in complex finish compared to only focus on the development of the local wisdom itself. In this case, we want to combine these 4 main subjects; youth, government, local wisdom, and local tourism. According to Yohalem, N., & Martin, S. (2007), the role of youth is to build positive and meaningful relationships with marginalized young people by cooperating respectfully and involving young people in a youth-friendly way, started by youth as the pioneer of successfulness of the local wisdom. Youth have to keep our local wisdom by maintaining and preserving its originality as the key to maintain this local tourism and as the foundation of this location. It needs more attraction through branding and youth has potentials to create brand community to help this location. We can create a strategic planning for branding through SWOT analysis and S.P.I.N Selling.

Brand community has been acknowledged as a district concept in marketing from early 1990s (Amstrong & Hangel 1996; Muniz & O’Guin, 2001; Rheingold, 1933). Online brand communities, both brand-generated communities as well as independent fan-based communities, have been recognized as a distrink segment (Bagozzi & Dholakia, 2002), but the potential size and spread of online communities priveds new challenges for brand managers. Customers cannot touch and feel the merchandise in which they are interested, which can create uncertainty in product assessment before purchase (Kim and Krishnan 2015). Youth as an Ambassador of local tourism can help by using experience them. It will be shared to communities that concern to help local tourism. Because, to help our local wisdom we have to maximize Youth as Ambassador to gain people come to Pusuk Buhit, Marketing that we use (Branding by Youth) is the best attraction for Pusuk Buhit.

Youth as Leadership Fundamental

Before we talk about Youth as Leadership Fundamental, they have been faced with bonus demography issue. Bonus demography is a condition in which economic productivity increases rapidly as the impact of the low ratio of dependency (dependency ratio) and size of the population labor force (Suryahadi et al., 2012). The point is bonus demography influences the attraction of local wisdom. Recognizing this very fact, the government of Indonesia has been trying to prepare the youth to face real world out there.

Youth & Bonus Demography

Youth as Leadership Fundamental also needs more attention from government to help local wisdom. Indonesia as a platform for this location is facing the bonus demography as well. Youth having 2 (two) tasks to help this location by establishing relationship between government and community relation. In fact, Bonus demography and local tourism need more attention from the government.

Demographic bonus is a condition in which economic productivity increases rapidly as a result of a low dependency ratio as well as the size of the population workforce (Suryahadi et al., 2012). Apparently, Bonus demography is influencing the attraction of local wisdom because age of productivity increased but the role of youth in developing villages is very low. That is why government should prepare supply and demand for tourism of Pusuk Buhit. Youth can be ambassador to help Indonesia to enhance visit for tourism of this location. It helps Youth to productive when facing Bonus Demography.

We focus at Pusuk Buhit to help the attraction between youth and government. We have to change our mindset that youth must love their hometown or land more and aware to preserve the local wisdom within. Many Youth went downtown to increase their skills and knowledge, but we want youth to repair and renew our local wisdom to be one of the well-known local wisdom. Youth and Government already changed their vision in facing the revolution 4.0. After we focused on youth, in here, the Government of Indonesia, particularly, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has announced that it had sought development agenda that focuses on youth to face bonus demography (10 September 2013). Using data primarily derived from the 2010 Population Census, the areas of concern in this monograph cover five general points:

  1. The youth population's size, structure and growth
  2. The distribution and movement pattern of Indonesia:
  3. Their educational experience;
  4. Their involvement in the labor force; and finally
  5. Their patterns of family formation.

Recognizing this very fact, the government has been trying to prepare the youth to face real world out there. We believe that capacity building can achieve our goals to save local wisdom and tourism. Capacity building for youth including the vulnerable ones can be done through business management training (business planning, financial administration, marketing, taxing, life skill, etc.), technical skill training, as well as Mentoring or assistance.

Youth as Agent of Change

Youth are facing risk every day. There is the term “Youth at risk” which represents a range of circumstances that put youth at greater vulnerability, e.g. problematic behaviors, such as substance abuse, school failure, and juvenile delinquency, and mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. When studying youth at risk, researchers typically focus on the risk factors that contribute to—and the protective factors that serve to buffer against—problematic outcomes. Protective factors can be thought of as either personal factors, such as problem-solving abilities or competence and perceived efficacy or environmental resources, such as social support in the community or family income. A paradigm shift in the field more than twenty years ago brought considerably more attention to the adaptive behavior and outcomes of youth at risk in the form of resilience studies.

The challenge for those studying youth at risk is in identifying young people who are more likely to develop problems that prevent them from transitioning to healthy adults—hence the notion of “risk”. Because we believe that to help our local wisdom, they have to change mindset to support this community. Take the risk and change mindset side by side is the solution to gain local wisdom. To cater to “Youth at risk”, we need to make a breakthrough to help youth not to be a threat in the bonus demography that is being faced. In this case, the productive age in question is 15-64. However, the facts on the ground reveal that not many young people or youth want to maintain their local wisdom because they think life in the city is much better.

In fact, Local wisdom and Local tourism are acting very influential not only to Indonesia but also for Malaysia and Thailand as the Growth Triangle (IMT-GT). Or, as fellow youth as well as fellow millenials, we can achieve to make our local wisdom is known in the world by establishing a cross-cultural relationship. In other words, we can establish relationship through IMT growth triangle to help to develop our local wisdom. As we know that youth are energetic, youth from Indonesia, as well as from Malaysia and Thailand can be a volunteer to help out empowering these local wisdoms. By that, we can empower the local wisdoms to the human wellness.


Nowadays, local wisdom has been forgotten by the latter generation, millenials. It becomes the challenge for us, the millennials, the youth, regarding on how to keep the local wisdom as the soul of life, so our environment especially water, land, forest and etc. can sustain for good, for the sake of our future as well as our next generation. Every of us should eventually remember that local wisdom is the treasure of life to keep the world and its whole components sustainable. Youth as the future generation should build more awareness to the local wisdom.

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