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Indonesia supervolcano Toba recognised by UNESCO as a Global Geopark
Posted on 09/10/2019

EnvironmentIndonesia

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Volcanic Lake Toba in Indonesia's Sumatra has been submitted into the UNESCO Global Geopark Network

Lake Toba in Northern Sumatra is renowned for being the world's largest volcanic lake, nestled in the caldera of a supervolcano. The lake is so big, in fact, that an island the same size as Singapore could fit snugly inside it!

Yet in a bid to further develop Lake Toba as a world tourism destination, UNESCO has also recently endorsed the Toba Caldera geopark by admitting it into the UNESCO Global Geopark Network.

The Toba Caldera geopark was officially designated at the Asia Pacific Geopark Network (APGN) symposium held earlier this year in September at Lombok.

Its new status has been the exposure it has needed to boost tourism and attract more visitors to Indonesia. The geopark now joins ranks with four others situated in the Southeast Asian country with the same Global Geopark label, among which are Bali's Mount Batur, Ciletuh and Gunung Sewu in Java, and Lombok's Mount Rinjan.

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Saidin B Jusoh/123RF

UNESCO Global Geoparks are defined as unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic approach with the principal aims of protection, education and sustainable development.

Regarding this decision, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs, has said: "This lake will be increasingly known as an international class destination. We will be branding Lake Toba as a Geopark Supervolcano".

This appointment is a massive step forward for Indonesia's tourism on a whole as geopark-based tourism is vital in supporting the development of the site as well as increasing the total number of foreign tourist visits.

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belikova/123RF

The development of the area into a world-class tourism destination required a budget of 21 trillion Indonesian rupiah, approximately 1.2 million pounds, from local government and private parties in 2017. The money had the aim to attract one million tourists to the site by this year and improve the accessibility to the Lake Toba area.

Steps taken to accelerate tourism and development have also included the extension of a runway in Sibisa Airport, the construction of more hotels and accommodation in close proximity to Lake Toba itself, the opening of a toll road stretching from the Kualanamu Airport to Prapat and the widening and deepening of the lake in the Tano Ponggol area to accommodate larger ships and vessels.

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