BELITUNG, KOMPAS.com - Indonesia is set to add another UNESCO World Heritage Site on its list of destinations, after the Belitong Geopark in Bangka-Belitung province passed the UN body's examination for sites with flying colors during its council in Paris on December 8, 2020.
"The Belitong Geopark garnered 850 out of 1000 points, the highest ever score given by UNESCO's Global Geopark Council to any Indonesian entry," said Bangka-Belitung governor Erzaldy Rosman Djohan on Saturday, February 7.
Nevertheless, Erzaldy said he was "proud of the Belitong Geopark preparation team. [UNESCO's decision] is final, and we look forward to receiving their official certificate next April."
Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno hailed UNESCO's decision. "I hope [Belitong Geopark] will put Bangka Belitung on the map as a destination for Indonesian and foreign tourists," said the Gerindra party stalwart and former Jakarta deputy governor.
"The park also shows that Bangka Belitung has much to offer. So it is only natural that [the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy] support the geopark and develop its tourist potential."
Belitong Geopark head Yuspian said the park, which is managed by the regencies of Belitung and East Belitung, is "waiting for UNESCO's invitation to discuss the potential of the geosite," months after the Indonesian government proposed it to UNESCO in November 2020.
He added that Belitong Geopark still has much to do after gaining UNESCO's recognition. "We will prepare the Geopark Belitong team to develop the park's potential, which it has in abundance," Yuspian asserted.
As a province renowned for its beaches, age-old granite formations, and setting for the Indonesian novel Laskar Pelangi [Rainbow Warriors] and hit 2008 film of the same name, Bangka Beitung is known as a hidden Indonesian gem better known to Indonesian travelers.
Once accepted, Belitong Geopark will be one of UNESCO's Global Geoparks Network or GGN. Founded in 2004, GGN has 147 sites in 41 countries, including five out of 15 Indonesian national geoparks.
The network is designed to promote the world's geological heritage and encourage sustainable development in national parks.
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