01.07.2014 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Master Plan for Ecotourism in Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra

National Stakeholder Meeting for Developing
Master Plan for Ecotourism in Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra

UNESCO co-organised the National Stakeholder meeting on a Master Plan for Ecotourism Development in Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra in association with Indecon on Friday, 27 June 2014 at Hotel Oria, Jakarta. In collaboration with P2Par ITB, Indecon was appointed by UNESCO to develop an ecotourism master plan for the area of the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (TRHS), covering 3 National Parks (Gunung Leuser NP, Kerinci Seblat NP, Bukit Barisan Selatan NP). The ecotourism master plan has been drafted by the Indecon project team. The main objective of the meeting was to present the development concept and strategic programme for ecotourism development in TRHS; and further discuss with stakeholders and get agreement on master plan for ecotourism development with the Ministry of Forestry and each National Park.

Mr. Shahbaz Khan, Deputy Director of UNESCO and Senior Program Specialist for Sciences, gave the welcoming remarks by expressing his gratitude to Indecon for their work on the master plan and the organization of the meeting. He also thanked the stakeholders for their participation, support and contributions. Mr. Shahbaz highlighted the importance of TRHS for UNESCO as a World Heritage site and the importance of the master plan for the management of the National Parks.

Mr. Shahbaz Khan, from UNESCO, presented on the “Success Stories: Tourism Development at Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage sites”. He started his presentation by reminding that TRHS was declared in danger in 2011, which should be an opportunity to improve both ecosystem and local people situation. Mr. Shahbaz made a brief introduction on UNESCO as a UN agency, on Biosphere Reserves and the Man and the Biosphere program, and on the World Heritage Convention. Mr. Shahbaz presented some examples of success stories in BR and WH sites: the significant progress in the management of Mount Kenya National Park, Kenya, after finding a solution to illegal logging and marijuana cultivation; the successful restoration of Agkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia, which was removed from the List of WH in Danger in 2004; and the international safeguarding campaign launched in Temple of Borobudur, Indonesia, restored completely in 1983. Following these examples, the National Government, Provincial Governments and National Parks were advised to work together and care about TRHS conservation.

Mr. Bambang Supriyanto, from the Ministry of Forestry, continued the session by presenting on the “Role of Tourism Development for Management of National Parks in Indonesia”. He presented the case study of Trans Boundary Ecotourism, to develop a cooperative working system where stakeholders of two protected areas (Betung Kerihun NP in Kalimantan and Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary in Sarawak) could work together effectively in managing wide areas or eco-regions that transcend boundaries between the two protected areas in Sarawak Malaysia and West Kalimantan.

In the third part of the meeting, Mr. Ary Suhandi presented on the “Integration of TRHS through ecotourism development: Concept and Strategy”. The development of the ecotourism in THRS is expected to contribute to the management of long-term biodiversity conservation and to improve the understanding of the stakeholders on TRHS region. In order to plan the ecotourism development, nine strategies have been formulated for TRHS area;

Concept 1. Developing ecotourism in each National Park in the scope of TRHS as local scale business models that are environmentally friendly and beneficial to society.

Strategy 1. Improve governance of ecotourism in TRHS region.

Strategy 2. Improve the competitiveness of the National Parks as ecotourism destinations in Indonesia.

Strategy 3. Construct and apply the standard services.

Strategy 4. Build partnership in the development of ecotourism in TRHS.

Concept 2. Improving the image of TRHS.

Strategy 5. Create new themes for TRHS products.
Strategy 6. Disseminate images and information of tourism in promotions.

Concept 3. Integrating the development of ecotourism in TRHS.

Strategy 7. Combine ecotourism products with TRHS products.
Strategy 8. Improve networking among tourism actors in TRHS.
Strategy 9. Develop an integrated campaign for TRHS.

The session was followed by some questions from different stakeholders addressed to the speakers. The issue of funding and incentives from the government, local or provincial, to national park managers and staff was discussed. On the one hand, local people should feel responsible and ownership towards the park, this means having an own interest to protect, improve, and enjoy it, not related to economical incentives. On the other hand, funding is a Government responsibility (not UNESCO’s). International cooperation was also referred as source of found during the discussion.
The main inputs for the ecotourism master plan from the participants were the following:

  1. Ecotourism development is an important tool to reduce forest degradation and deforestation in protected areas. Could UNESCO help to bring this idea to the higher level, for example to the parliament?
  2. In regard to reduce massive encroachment in national parks, can UNESCO participate in the higher level of law enforcement?
  3. How the ecotourism in national parks can be an important tool for conservation?
  4. How this master plan document can be implemented and which is the next step after this?
  5. To develop similar standard tourism services in the three national parks

The final master plan will incorporate these inputs and will be finished by Indecon by early July 2014. The final master plan will also be translated in English. This final document will be completed by the 3rd week of July 2014.

This project has funded by the Spanish Funds in Trust.
Further information: Shahbaz Khan, Deputy Director and Senior Program Specialist (s.khan(at)unesco.org)

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