Could Erupting Volcanoes Be Turned into Tourist Attractions in Indonesia?

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Mount Sinabung in Sumatra

Indonesia should seriously consider promoting disaster tourism as a growth area for the country, said the country National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB). The topic was evoked by the Indonesian correspondent of Singapore newspaper the “Straits Times” as Bali remains suspended to the potential eruption of Mount Agung in the central northern part of the island.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Due to its geographical location, the archipelago accounts some 127 volcanoes, or 13 per cent of the total number worldwide. Two of them – Mount Agung on Bali island and Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra- are both currently on the highest alert level of Stage 4, which means an eruption is imminent. Mount Sinabung last big eruption occurred back to 2015.

Talking to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the newspaper reports that the BNPB spokesperson emphasizes that viewing sites for volcanoes must remain well outside danger zones and be carefully chosen by competent authorities. For example, the site for Mount Agung should be located west of the mountain now, since the wind is blowing from the west to the east. The danger zone is up to 12km around the volcano.

Around Mount Sinabung close to Lake Toba in North Sumatra, tourists are not scared anymore by the idea of staying close to a volcano. In contrary, many see it as an opportunity to live a natural and spectacular phenomenon.

“Potential guests, especially those from Europe, like to ask when the volcano would erupt again. We always say we do not know, but to come here as the scenery is great”, said Dedi Nelson, general manager of Hotel Sibayak Internasional, 20km from Mount Sinabung to the correspondent of the Straits Times. “Nothing beats the experience of watching an eruption”, he added.

(Source: the Strait Times)