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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Govt develops ecotourism in Derawan, Tanjung Puting

  • Indra Harsaputra

    The Jakarta Post

Surabaya | Mon, September 16, 2013 | 10:13 am

The government said it was fully committed to wildlife conservation efforts, especially the protection of orangutans and turtles in Kalimantan, in a bid to develop the island'€™s core tourist destinations.

Director of MICE and special interests promotion at the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, Rizki Handayani, said the government was currently focussing on developing an ecotourism area in Tanjung Puting National Park, located in West Kotawaringin and Seruyan regencies in Central Kalimantan.

The government is also developing a tourist resort on Derawan Island, Berau regency, in East Kalimantan.

'€œBoth areas are part of the government'€™s focus in developing tourism in Kalimantan over the next five years,'€ said Rizki on the sidelines of a Kalimantan promotional event in Surabaya on Friday.

'€œCurrently, we are providing training to the community and encouraging the local administrations to be involved in conservation efforts in both provinces.'€

Tanjung Puting National Park ecotourism area has attracted many foreign visitors due to its attraction of Kalimantan orangutan as well as other wildlife, such as the red leaf monkey, bear, mouse deer, clouded leopard and leopard cat.

Top Hollywood actress Julia Roberts once visited Tanjung Putting in 1998 to shoot a documentary film titled In the wild: Orangutans with Julia Roberts. Roberts then appeared in a documentary film titled Mongolian Horsemen with Julia Roberts, as a form of concern for wildlife.

'€œOn the other hand, Derawan Island is famous for its green turtles [Chelonia mydas]. The area will be developed into a maritime tourism area as well as a turtle conservation area,'€ said Rizki.

Rizki added that the government planned to hold the Derawan Festival on Sept. 17-20 as part of an effort to develop tourism in Derawan, where turtles and coral reef conservation would be prioritized.

'€œThe festival will include sailboat, yachting and wind-surfing races,'€ he said.

World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia forest program director Anwar Purwoto said the ecotourism development program at Tanjung Puting National Park was expected to help in the efforts to save orangutans in the area.

'€œThe ecotourism development program is expected to be in line with the utilization of the national park as a tourist area in order to protect the existing ecosystem,'€ he said.