Stakeholder Meeting for the Development of Ecotourism Plan at the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra
The stakeholder kick off meeting for the development of ecotourism plan in the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (TRHS) was conducted on 12 February 2014 in Jakarta, Indonesia. TRHS consists of three national parks located in Sumatra, which are Gunung Leuser, Kerinci Seblat and Bukit Barisan Selatan. The meeting served as an initial discussion and to gather inputs and recommendations on tourism development from national and local stakeholders working at the TRHS.
The TRHS was inscribed to the World Natural Heritage in 2004 for its unique landscape and biodiversity. However, due to road development, encroachment and logging, the Sumatra forest was included to the In Danger List of World Heritage in 2011. UNESCO in cooperation with INDECON is developing ecotourism plan as part of the effort to contribute in the effort of conservation and at the same time providing alternative livelihood to the surrounding community. The ecotourism development is conducted in close collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry and supported by the Government of Spain. For over eight years, UNESCO and government of Spain have contributed in the conservation of TRHS through support in orangutan conservation, ecological restoration, capacity building and ecotourism development.
The stakeholder meeting was attended by the Heads of National Park offices, Ministry of Forestry, officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, UNESCO and NGOs working at TRHS. In his opening remarks, Mr. Shahbaz Khan, Deputy Director of UNESCO, mentioned the development of integrated ecotourism in TRHS as an opportunity for the parks to contribute in the sustainable development. Mr. Bambang Supriyanto, as the Director of Ecosystem Services in Conservation Area and Protected Forest of the Ministry of Forestry described the importance of ecotourism to reduce the encroachment to the forest. He also emphasized that factors such as carrying capacity and responsible tourism need to be considered in developing ecotourism.
The meeting also provided the opportunity for the Heads of National Park Office to present their parks as potential for touristic sites and elaborated on the challenges the parks are facing such as encroachment, logging including the national park status which was not fully socialized to the community. According to the representative from the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, connectivity of TRHS to other potential tourist sites is one of the important factors in developing tourism.
For more information on Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, go to: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167
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