Thursday, October 4, 2012

Unesco Declares Mount Batur's Caldera a Global Geopark: Tourism Ministry

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has declared the caldera area of Mount Batur, located in Kintamani district, Bali, as part of the Global Geopark Network, a ministry official said on Thursday.

Achyaruddin, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy's director for special interests, conventions, incentives and events tourism development, said the declaration was made at the 11th European Geopark Conference held in Auroca Geopark, Portugal on Sept. 20, 2012.

“The inclusion of Batur caldera as part of GGN will bring a positive impact on tourist arrivals in Indonesia, especially Bali in the coming years,” he said.

The geopark label is a recognition from Unesco awarded to a “unified area with geological heritage of international significance and where that heritage is being used to promote the sustainable development of the local communities who live there.”

The decision to include Mount Batur's caldera as part of GGN followed a four-year process.

“Last year a team of experts from Unesco came to observer Batur's caldera and the Karst region located in Pacitan, East Java, that we proposed, but only Batur was declared as part of GGN,” Achyaruddin said.

Achyaruddin said he hoped increasing tourism activities in the region would improve the people's welfare and empower the local community. In addition, he said he hoped the park would also provide education to tourists visiting it.

Indonesia is also proposing other geoparks for recognition by the Unesco, namely Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Merangin in Jambi, Mount Rinjani in West Nusa Tenggara, Raja Ampat in West Papua, and the Sewu Karst regions in Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java.

"The geoparks included in GGN will automatically be promoted to the whole world," he said.

Mount Batur National Park is the first Indonesian site in the GGN. Only two other Southeast Asian locations — Malaysia’s Langkawi Geopark and Vietnam’s Dong Van Karst Geopark — are on the Unesco list.

Mount Batur, in Bangli district, is about 90 kilometers north of Denpasar. It is an active volcano that sits in the middle of two concentric calderas in northeast Bali. The calderas are also home to traditional villages that rely on tourism as a key source for revenue.

As many as 26 eruptions of the volcano have been recorded between 1804 and 2000. In 2010, a Swedish tourist died after falling into the crater. (Antara/Jakarta Globe)

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