Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia sees huge potential in developing cooperation among the geoparks in the South China Sea Rim, in order to support nature and cultural conservations, develop the creative economy, and promote the tourism sector.
At the 29th Workshop on Managing Potential Conflict in the South China Sea held in Batam on Wednesday (September 11), Foreign Affairs Ministry's Director of the Centre for Policy Analysis and Development for Multilateral Affairs, Dindin Wahyudin, presented a paper on several potential areas for cooperation, among them being the establishment of a geopark network in the South China Sea Rim.
In a statement on Thursday, Dindin said the geopark network could be a platform to share the best practices and for capacity building. The network should promote the role of small and micro businesses in the region, and encourage combined tour packages by connecting geoparks in the South China Sea as an integrated regional tourism destination and market.
Currently, there are at least 46 UNESCO Global Geopark (GG) in the South China Sea Rim. The presence of geoparks helps improve the economy and leads to the prosperity of the local communities.
According to Dindin, Langkawi Geopark in Malaysia is a good example of how a geopark has managed to bring about significant economic growth, especially after it joined the UNESCO GG network. The number of tourist arrivals in Langkawi increased 100 percent in nine years, or from 1.8 million tourists in 2006 to 3.5 million tourists in 2015.
In addition, the investment in Langkawi also grew by 100 percent in six years, or Rp15.2 trillion in 2006 to Rp43.3 trillion in 2012.
Such benefits have also been enjoyed by Indonesia, such as in the Gunung Kidul Geopark, where tourist growth reached 100 percent in six years, or from two million tourists in 2012 to 5.89 million tourists in 2017.
At present, Indonesia has developed several geoparks, including the Natuna Geopark, which is strategically located adjacent to the South China Sea region.
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