Past Tsunami Event & Ways Forwards: Reflection of 14 Years of Aceh Tsunami

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After years of reconstruction work, today Aceh people have managed to overcome the catastrophe and continue to build their cities and life. They also welcome that Aceh is designed as Tsunami-based tourism destination in the efforts to create job opportunities for the locals, to remind succeeding generations of the worse impacts of past tragedy and to enhance people’s awareness on disaster risk reduction (DRR) towards future disaster risks.

Promoting Aceh as a memory tourism or commonly called as “Dark Tourism” does not merely mean to commercialize or exploit the sufferings and the pains of the Acehnese for business purposes only.

But, apart from the livelihood improvement in a longer term, it will be an effective media aimed at showing the global tourists on the strength, resilience and patience of the Acehnese during the past hardship and conveying a tribute for the outpouring of generosity of the global community and promoting a global sense of social togetherness.

It is also an effective media for sharing live stories or lessons learnt of past disaster experiences on how to explore ways of coping with disasters and rebuilding stricken communities by showing residents what happens in the past.

To date, the memory tourism has been as a new niche market for a tourist destination and generated significant income for the tourism players in Aceh, where surprisingly many of whom are the past Tsunami survivors in order to improve their livelihood postdisaster.

The tourism business run by them varies from travel agents, cafe and restaurant managers, accommodation managers, tourist resort managers, tourist guides, tour operators to event organizers.

The Aceh Tsunami Museum as an important iconic Tsunami or memory tourism and other Tsunami-related sites has so far turned into popular tourist attractions among visitors, where powerful memories of past Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster still endure.

Rahmadhani Sulaiman

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