The Tourism Ministry has plans in store to have all tourist destinations in Indonesia certified for sustainability to become world-class destinations.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the ministry’s Sustainable Tourism for Development (STDev) program, based on Ministerial Regulation No. 14/2016, adopted the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) worldwide standards for sustainable travel and tourism.
The Indonesia Sustainable Tourism Awards (ISTA) event, held for the third year running this year, is meant to help achieve the target. Offering a total prize of Rp 1 billion (US$70,522), the award is the ministry’s way to express appreciation for and evaluate the implementation of sustainability in the management of tourist destinations in Indonesia. It involved 176 destinations last year.
ISTA 2019 will open its registration from March 18 to May 18, and the selection phase will follow. The winners will be announced on Sept. 27, coinciding with World’s Tourism Day.
“ISTA is an early step to certification,” Arief said in a statement. “I’ve formed a sustainable tourism acceleration team, led by Valerina Daniel.”
Meanwhile, Valerina said the program was aligned with sustainable development goals and with the government’s National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN).
“We’re limited to providing guidance for travel destinations for now, but we’ll add rules on the standardization of sustainability for [hospitality] industries, including hotels and travel agents, in the future,” said Valerina.
Additionally, the ministry has formed the Indonesia Sustainable Tourism Council (ISTC), which will certify destinations – beginning with the winners of ISTA 2017 and 2018 – that are deemed to meet the required standards and have been acknowledged by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Sustainable tourism takes into consideration three main aspects, namely environmental, social and economic concerns. It is also known as the people, planet, prosperity and management approach. It focuses on several elements, including environmental and cultural conservation.
Sustainability in Indonesia as a key economic driver
As a growing number of people become acutely aware of the need to protect the environment, the demand for goods and services that are sensitive to such inclinations will undoubtedly increase.
A 2017 report by Singaporean financial services group, DBS and the United Nations (UN) has indicated that ASEAN’s total green financing opportunities lie at US$3 trillion between 2016 and 2030. Investments in green infrastructure make up 60 per cent of this amount.
Countries with existing large grids but want to improve transmission of electricity like Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand also offer a lucrative potential for investment.
Water is also an essential green infrastructure investment avenue in places like Indonesia, and the Philippines as Southeast Asia’s water market is slated to grow 20 per cent annually. The technology risk associated with such an investment is quite low given that technologies utilised in water treatment plants, dams and flood control waterworks are relatively established.