Visitors taking picture at the Hobbit miniature house in Seribu Batu Songgo Langit tourism area in Dlingo, Bantul, Yogyakarta. (Antara Photo/Hendra Nurdiyansyah)

Indonesia to Step Up Sustainability Efforts With Tourism Observatories


APRIL 06, 2017

Jakarta. The Tourism Ministry has tasked five sustainable tourism observatories with monitoring and improving tourism practices in top tourist destinations in a bid to accelerate the development of sustainable tourism in Indonesia.

Out of the five observatories, three have been certified by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and included in the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) since September last year.

They are the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) which monitors the Pangandaran district in West Java; Gadjah Mada University (UGM) which monitors the district of Sleman in Yogyakarta; and Mataram University which monitors West Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara.

"All three have been providing updates to the UNWTO in Madrid on the progress of sustainable tourism in their regions. [The updates] will be followed up with programs to improve tourism in each region," the ministry's director of infrastructure development and tourism ecosystem Frans Teguh said during a coordination meeting in Lombok on Thursday (06/04).

The other two observatories are North Sumatra University (USU) which monitors the Samosir district in North Sumatra and Udayana University which monitors Denpasar in Bali.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said sustainable tourist destinations have to pay attention to three crucial aspects: cultural, economic and environmental.

"People tend to pay attention just to the cultural aspect. But the three of them have to go hand in hand. In that way, tourism development will not only reduce poverty, but also make a significant contribution to our foreign exchange reserves," Arief said.

The ministry is targeting 15 million international visitors to Indonesia this year and 20 million by 2019. If those targets are achieved, Arief predicted tourism will beat oil and gas, coal and crude palm oil to be the top contributor to Indonesia's foreign exchange reserves by 2019.