UNESCO global Geopark to include the Rinjani volcano of Lombok Island.
Indonesia hailed on Monday the inscription of Rinjani volcano in the eastern province of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) to the list of the UNESCO Global Geopark in the recent UNESCO Executive Board meeting held in Paris, France.
“The inscription of Rinjani volcano in UNESCO Global Geopark would be an effective way to further promote the tourism in the province,” Rinjani Geopark General Manager Chairul Mahsul said in a statement on Monday.
The official recognition, he added, would be announced in April, while the certificate would be handed over in September in Italy during the Eighth International Conference on Unesco Global Geoparks.
Rinjani Geopark was scheduled to host Asia Pacific Geopark meeting in 2019, he added.
Known for its breathtaking peak and a crescent-shaped crater lake named Segara Anak, Rinjani is one of the main tourist destinations in the province. Standing at 3,726 meters above sea level, Rinjani volcano is one of the favourite places for mountain climbers for its beautiful sceneries.
The volcano is part of 41,330 hectares of Rinjani Geopark conservancy area developed by the province. It is expected to be expanded up to 76,000 hectares.
The inclusion of one of the country’s highest volcanic mountains will bring to three the number of Indonesian natural sites listed as UNESCO global Geoparks, which are defined by the Unesco as “geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.”
Indonesia currently has six geoparks, but only two have been listed as Unesco Global Geoparks: Batur Geopark in northeast Bali, which includes Mt. Batur, its lake and two calderas; and the Mt. Sewu Geopark, tropical karst landscape in the southern mountains of East Java.
Worldwide, there are 127 Unesco Global Geoparks in 35 countries.
The government proposed Rinjani being named as a global geopark to Unesco in 2016, said Rinjani Geopark Council’s chairman Misbahib Haraha.
After securing the new status as a global geopark, the management of Rinjani will focus on three main pillars to develop Rinjani, namely conservation, education and people’s economic empowerment, Misbahib said.
“The geopark’s management will encourage more participation by locals so that the benefits from tourism can be enjoyed by both investors and the people,” he said.
Mt. Rinjani and its surroundings, which are rich in flora and fauna and where Lombok people still conduct traditional activities, are protected as part of the Mount Rinjani National Park (TNGR).
TNGR head Raden Agus Budi Santosa said the inclusion of Rinjani in the Unesco list would have a positive impact on both the conservation and tourism development of the area.
To get prepared for the new status, Agus said, his office had designed an online registration system for visitors or climbers.
Last year, Rinjani saw increases in foreign and domestic visitors of 39,659 and 43,120, respectively. By comparison, the mountain welcomed only 30,847 foreign and 62,171 domestic tourists in 2016.