Australia pledged $215,000 to support efforts to help local residents reap the benefits of tourism to Borobudur Temple, Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced on Sunday.
“Borobudur is one of Indonesia’s greatest cultural and historical icons — the nation’s largest Buddhist temple and potentially the largest in the world,” Carr said. “Millions of tourists visit the monument every year, but few tourist dollars flow to local families. The benefits from Borobudur’s popularity should reach the 55,000 local villagers who call this area home.”
The funds will support a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) effort to develop and preserve the historic temple. Under the program, local residents will receive training on heritage tourism and handicraft production.
Carr hoped the funds will help Borobudar villagers see a bigger share of the temple’s tourism revenue.
“There is tremendous potential to help local communities by bringing their handicrafts, such as textiles, ceramics and wood carving to international tourists,” Carr said. “The hundreds of thousands of Australians who visit Borobudur would be pleased to know they are also supporting the local community.”
Australia previously gave $6 million in relief aid after an eruption at Mount Merapi covered the area with volcanic ash.(Jakarta Globe)