Charismatic Leadership in Establishing Sustainable Tourist Destinations, Doctor of Research in Management Thesis Defense by Glory Aguzman

Tourism has always been one of the many qualities that Indonesia excels In. Consequently, the tourism industry is among the top 4 highest-grossing industries in Indonesia for the past 4 years. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in 2018, Indonesia ranked 9th in global tourism, ranked 3rd in Asian tourism, and ranked 1st in Southeast Asian tourism. Surely this has become an impressive achievement for Indonesia, thanks to its attractive natural scenery, from mountains to beaches, rain forests to rice fields.

However, establishing and maintaining sought-after tourist destinations are not as simple as relying on nature. Building a tourism ecosystem requires great leadership and champion (thinking out of the box) risk-taking, decision making, negotiation, and local identity. Currently, the sustainable tourism trend has been on the rise. For many years, Indonesia has offered tourist villages throughout the country as options for sustainable tourism.

Sustainable tourism requires thoughtful planning and process to ensure that the destinations will have a stable economy and be able to conserve nature and local culture. Moreover, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, sustainable Indonesian tourism requires three main pillars: attraction, amenity, and accessibility.

All of these points were widely covered by Dr. Glory Aguzman, a graduate from Doctor of Research in Management, BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL. Dr. Glory presented his thesis titled “The Effect of Charismatic Leadership on the Sustainability of Tourism Destinations with Community Empowerment, Entrepreneurship Orientation, and Local Government Involvement as a Mediator and Social Capital as Moderator” in front of a team of promoters and examiners led by Prof. Dr. Ir. Harjanto Prabowo, M.M on Monday, March 1, 2021.

Charismatic leadership in relation to sustainable tourist destinations

Charismatic leadership is the kind of leadership where the leader can massively influence their followers without any coercion. In the old world, charismatic leaders were seen as a gift from the gods with supernatural powers. In the modern era, charismatic leaders are visionaries who influence their followers by trusting their visions. In addition to that, charismatic leaders create impacts by empathy and open communications.

Dr. Glory conducted a quantitative study with 283 respondents; all were involved in the efforts to attract more tourists in 4 award-winning sustainable tourist villages in Indonesia, which were Pemuteran (Bali), Panglipuran (Bali), Pentingsari (Yogyakarta), and Nglanggeran (Yogyakarta). From this research, Dr. Glory proved that charismatic leadership indirectly affected the establishment of sustainable tourist destinations by influencing community empowerment.

In terms of community empowerment, Dr. Glory showed that local government involvement and the local entrepreneurship orientation held significant roles in building community empowerment, all indirectly influencing the establishment of sustainable tourist destinations. Social capital was shown to affect the local government involvement in empowering the community and sustainable destinations.

Three pillars of sustainable tourist destinations

Aside from the three pillars mentioned by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Dr. Glory, through his thesis, presented his own version of three pillars in establishing sustainable tourist destinations. According to Dr. Glory, the first pillar is people, consisting of charismatic leaders, local government, and community empowerment. By giving each of these stakeholders their very own responsibility, Dr. Glory argued that it would create mutual benefits.

The second pillar is the planet. The main challenge of a sustainable tourist destination is how to conserve natural beauty from pollutants, climate change, and irresponsible tourist behaviors. Community awareness in conserving the environment can help them in gaining more profit from the tourism industry.

The third and final pillar is profit. Community empowerment led by charismatic leaders, according to Dr. Glory, will generate constant profit by increasing productivity and cost-efficiency. To conclude his thesis defense for Doctor of Research in Management program S3 BINUS University, Dr. Glory stated finally, “Destination is not a place, it’s a new perspective.” ** (PID)