The Archipelago, or Nusantara, holds the second richest biodiversity in the world. Located at the heart of the Coral Triangle, the global epicenter of marine biodiversity, it is home to 18 percent of the world’s coral reef.
More than 6,000 orchid species, 150 species of shark, and the world’s largest flower Rafflesia Arnoldi. It is also the habitat for Komodo (Varanus komodoensis), the largest lizard; Tarsier Gunung (Tarsius pumilus), the smallest primate; and the longest Phyton (Phyton reticulates). These species are spread in several hotspots in Indonesia: Sundaland (western part of Nusantara), Wallacea (Sulawesi and Molucca) and West Papua (Papua).
The geographical features make the country highlight the beaches, lakes, rivers, mountains, volcanoes, craters and national parks, making them key tourism interests for surfing, mount-climbing and trekking. They are the habitat of exotic wildlife such as the tropical rainforest in Sumatra and Kalimantan islands and the underwater coral reef regions of Togean water near Sulawesi and Raja Ampat waters near Papua island.
This diversity forms an important part of Indonesia’s natural heritage and is an essential economic resource. For example, the volcanoes are important sources of important minerals in local agriculture. It is estimated that Indonesian biodiversity accounts for over 11 percent of the country’s GDP; the coral reefs alone being the support to six million people with direct employment. Therefore, Indonesia is working hard to preserve its biodiversity against the threat of destruction from human activities, particularly with the development of the Coral Triangle Initiative –– a six-nation treaty focused on sustainability of “Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security”.
It is worth mentioning that the government has also identified 16 prime destinations to be developed in the coming years. The target is not only to increase the number of tourists visiting Indonesia, but also to inspire good quality tourism and make them stay there longer.
The 16 destinations include Lake Toba in North Sumatra; Pangandaran in West Java; the Borobudur-Prambanan areas in Central Java and Yogya-Sleman in Yogyakarta; the Semeru area in East Java; the Flores in East Nusatenggara in South East Sulawesi; Toraja in South Sulawesi; Derawan Islands in East Kalimantan; Pulau Weh in Aceh; the Togean Islands in Central Sulawesi; the Thousand Islands and Old Batavia, both in Jakarta; and Bali’s southern and northern coasts, as well as around Mount Batur.
Other attraction for tourists are Komodo, the living ancient dragon in Komodo Island, East Nusa Tenggara Province; clear waters around Togean Island, off coast of Central Sulawesi Province; Rinjani Volcano in Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara Province and thousands of islands in Jakarta Province.
Source: Saudi Gazette