Conservation Areas Become a Tourism Trend, Visits Reach Millions

Rinjani, Sembalun Lawang, East Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara (Eugene Chow-Unsplash)

Along with the improvement and development of nature tourism, conservation areas are increasingly favored by local and foreign tourists. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry recorded 5.29 million people visiting conservation areas in 2022.

Conservation areas in Indonesia are known to have unique and distinctive characteristics. Landscapes, their ecosystems, biodiversity, as well as socio-cultural life and local wisdom of people living around conservation areas are objects and attractions for people to visit and carry out nature tourism activities.

LHK Minister Siti Nurbaya said the number consisted of 5.1 million domestic tourists and 189 thousand of foreign tourists.

“This condition is higher or has almost doubled compared to data for 2021, where 2.9 million domestic tourists visited and 12 thousand foreign tourists,” said Siti Nurbaya, quoted Monday, (16/1/23).

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry stated that Indonesia has 2,612 objects and natural tourist attractions in the form of landscapes, waterfalls, caves, sea or beaches, lakes, and mountains.

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry projects that the number of tourist visits to conservation areas will increase in the future. This is in line with the development of natural tourism objects, the application of information technology as a media for marketing and promotion, and ease of service through the electronic ticketing system.

“This system is also an effort to implement visitor restrictions or visitor quotas that are set based on the results of an analysis of the carrying capacity of conservation areas to maintain aspects of nature conservation,” said Siti.

Nature tourism to conservation areas not only provides income for the state through PNBP but also has a multiplier effect on the community.

In terms of labor absorption, continued Siti, nature tourism activities in conservation areas have employed at least 4,000 people. They are registered as workers who hold permits to do business in conservation areas.

According to him, nature tourism activities in conservation area have also provided jobs for the community as food and beverage service providers, tour guides, and souvenir providers.

As of December 2022, the community involved in these activities has increased by more than 100 percent compared to previous years.

Throughout the period 2021 and 2022 in Rinjani National Park there has been an increase in nature tourism actors, namely tour operators conducting their business increased from 70 people to 109 people, guides increased from 794 people to 3,907 people, delivery people from 1,841 people to 11,577 people.

The value of the benefits of nature tourism activities in conservation area also has an economic impact, for example, nature tourism in Mount Gede Pangrango National Park (TNGGP) in West Java.