Among the 10 top priority tourism destinations set up by the Indonesian government, the Mandalika Special Economic Zone in Lombok is recognised to be in a highly disaster-prone area and could then miss its target of turning into a top tourism destination…
As disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis regularly affect Indonesia, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has established the Disaster Safety Tourism Program to ensure that the 10 tourism destinations set up by the government are safe for future tourism activities.
BNPB spokesman Agus Wibowo noted during a forum on environment organised by the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) that ” the [Disaster Safety Tourism Program’s] key element is the tourists’ understanding on disaster threats, the region’s emergency facilities, risk governance and risk management,” he explained to the Jakarta Post.
He made the statement in response to a claim during the forum by human rights research group hakasasi.id manager Daywin Prayogo that there was no comprehensive disaster mitigation plan in the country’s popular tourist destinations. Some priority tourist destinations are located in so-called red zones, or areas highly prone to natural catastrophes like earthquakes and tsunamis.
Measures are seen more as only responding to the disaster’s effects but fail to look at measures to prevent to threats such as construction procedures or the establishment of buffer zones.
Daywin Prayogo pointed out that hakasasi.id team’s analysis of the 10 tourist destinations singled out by the government are extremely prone to disaster. One of the most exposed to various natural disasters is the Mandalika Special Economic Zone (KEK) in West Nusa Tenggara on Lombok Island, which is designated as one of the priority tourist destinations. Mandalika is due to host the MotoGP event in 2021, as a tourism hot spot.
The BNPB acknowledges that Mandalika is located in a disaster-prone area, facing tsunami and earthquake threats.
“It’s true that the place is in a disaster-prone zone. However, that doesn’t mean they should not build [KEK] Mandalika there. The key thing is how we mitigate that risk,” told BNPB spokesman Agus Wibowo to The Jakarta Post.
The agency organised already disaster simulation’s exercize in Mandalika to educate residents and to analyse the potential impact. Similar stimlations were also conducted at Lake Toba and Borobudur, two other priority tourism destinations.
BNPB data show that three other new tourist destinations lie in red zones: Tanjung Lesung in Banten (for risks of earthquakes, flooding, tsunamis and landslides), Mount Bromo in East Java (earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, forest fires and tornadoes) and Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara (earthquakes, tornadoes, drought, landslides and flooding).
The other six priority destinations are located in safer areas such as Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Tanjung Kelayang in Bangka Belitung Islands, Thousands Islands in Jakarta, Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Wakatobi Islands in Southeast Sulawesi and Morotai Islands in North Maluku.
BNPB developed Cekposisi, a smartphone app that informs users on disaster risks and alerts them to imminent threats. So far, the app is only active for Bali but it will soon be extended to other parts of the country.