SMSI Toba Caldera Geopark Expedition Safeguards World Heritage
Lake Toba is a large natural lake in Indonesia located in the caldera of Mount Supervulkan. Having a length of 100 kilometers, a width of 30 kilometers, a depth of 508 meters, and a surface height of about 900 meters, Toba is at the midpoint as well as the center of the northern island of Sumatra.
Economically, the role of Lake Toba is very important for the surrounding residents because it functions as a fulfillment of domestic needs as well as agricultural and agricultural activities. In addition, it is a tourist destination with management by the community under the supervision of the local government.
The Toba Caldera, which was formed from a super volkano explosion 74,000 years ago, has a fully watered bottom that has become the largest lake in Indonesia. The beauty of the Toba Caldera with the rich culture of its banks makes Lake Toba one of Indonesia's mainstay tourist destinations that is included in the list of '10 New Balis'.
In July 2020 the Toba Caldera was designated as a Global Geopark by the UNESCO Executive Council through its 209th session in Paris. The Toba Caldera made it to the list of 16 new UNESCO Global Geoparks after being assessed and decided by the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council at the FOURTH UNESCO Global Geoparks International Conference in Lombok, Indonesia, on August 31-September 2, 2019.
The determination of the Toba Caldera as a UNESCO Global Geopark went through a long process of joint efforts of various stakeholders, both the Central and Regional Governments and local communities living in the Toba lake area. The preparation process to get UNESCO recognition for the Toba Caldera, shows high commitment and good cooperation from all parties in Indonesia, from collecting data, organizing various workshops, drafting, to negotiating nomination documents to be submitted to UNESCO.
The Indonesian government has succeeded in convincing UNESCO that the Toba Caldera has high geological and heritage links with local communities, especially in terms of culture and biodiversity. It is in this context that UNESCO member states support the Toba Caldera being preserved and protected as a World Heritage.
Through this determination, Indonesia can develop the Toba Caldera geopark through the Global Geoparks Network and the Asia Pacific Geoparks Network, especially in terms of empowering local communities.
After being designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark (UGG), it is now approaching two years after how the North Sumatra Provincial Government prepares a master plan for the development of the Toba Caldera Geopark so that development planning in the Toba Caldera Geopark area can be integrated with each other The Indonesian Cyber Media Union (SMSI), together with various other parties, highlighted this and has planned a series of activities in an effort to help maintain the Toba Caldera Geopark as a world heritage.
SMSI is the largest cyber media organization in Indonesia. So far, exploration activities have been carried out in areas that have the potential to be developed as tourist destinations. In addition, it carries out various social programs and community empowerment. SMSI sees that the designation of the Toba Caldera as a UNESCO Global Geopark has provided an opportunity and at the same time a responsibility for Indonesia, especially for the local community. This determination can encourage economic development and sustainable development in the region. Through the development of sustainable geo-tourism, opportunities are opened for local communities to promote culture, local products, and create wider employment opportunities.
At the same time, with the world's recognition and attention to the Toba Caldera, there are consequences for the government and local communities to improve and continue to maintain the environmental sustainability and integrity of the Toba Caldera area.
Lake Toba can be a source of income for communities that have a high potential to be developed as a destination. Combining three main potentials, namely geodiversity, biodiversity, and culture diversity, Lake Toba has an important role in supporting the Indonesian tourism sector.
The series of activities that will be held by SMSI is the Lake Toba Geopark Expedition Mission which will take place from January 3 to 6, 2020, preceded by seminars and discussions with the same theme, which is followed by a dialogue with the regents of the seven districts around the lake.
"Our hope is that when we go down to Lake Toba, we can stop at the seven districts that are crossed, we will campaign to them if this lake has marwah and has value, in addition to historical, he is also glorified because in the span of thousands of years has built civilization," said SMSI Chairman Firdaus who immediately jumped in to lead the expedition.
The expedition mission will feature four main paddlers tracing the lake for 130 kilometres. The team will also accompany existing tourist villages around the lake to be developed again as well as map their tourism potentials.
"For example, it can be added with water sport tourism tour packages. The hope is that when there are many activities in the lake, people will not feel good about throwing garbage in the lake and its surroundings," said Firdaus.
"Well, Toba must provide more benefits to the people. If the lake becomes a livelihood, then there is money flowing into the village, the village has a reason to keep the lake as a world heritage," firdaus added.
The same thing was said by the Chairman of SMSI Kalsel Anang Fadhilah, Indonesia's number one tourist attraction that is often sold or offered to potential tourists both at home and abroad, can be said to be a beach, followed by a mountain. "The lake exists, but the portion is very small, so the lake was never considered a tourism potential," Pemred said in Barito and infobanua.co.id.
In fact, continued Anang, Switzerland can attract so many tourists precisely because of its lake, not because of the sea, because Switzerland is a country surrounded by land in Europe. "Every season in Switzerland people want to see the lake," he said.
It is said that lake tourism has not been seriously developed in Indonesia, even though the lake can attract many tourists. "The lake has never played a role as a destination for foreign or domestic tourists in Indonesia. This is one of the mental changes that we have to fix," he said.
For this reason, he said there needs to be a paradigm shift to make the lake one of the highlighted tourist destinations. By optimizing the lake as a tourist destination, efforts to revitalize, conserve and save the lake will increase and encourage all stakeholders to be involved in it.