"Since 2018, we have made preparations for the establishment of a geopark in Kelimutu National Park, and the government's target is to ensure that it materializes in 2021," Hiparkus Hepi, head of the tourism office of Ende District, said here Thursday.
A working team has been set up to prepare the designation of Kelimutu National Park as a geopark, in cooperation with a team from West Java.
Consultants will conduct field studies on biodiversity, geology, and culture within the national park which is known for its unique three-colored lake.
"From birds, plants, rocks and traditional culture in Kelimutu area will be studied, and the results will be examined by teams from the central government and UNESCO which has the authority to issue a recommendation whether it is qualified or not," he said.
He was optimistic that Kelimutu National Park would be recognized as a geopark and provide numerous benefits to the local government and community.
As a geopark, tourism in Ende will be promoted internationally and it will attract many tourists.
People will come to Ende for tourism, scientific research, cultural studies, and other interests and these will benefit the regional government and community, he added.
In the meantime, the Sixth Asia Pacific Geoparks Network (APGN) Symposium was held in Geopark Rinjani, Lombok, NTB, from Aug 30 to Sept 6, 2019.
"We propose two national geoparks -- Belitung and Toba -- to be discussed for inclusion into the UNESCO global geoparks list during the APGN meeting in Lombok," Anton Setyo Nugroho, head of the Maritime Innovation Network Department of the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Office, concurrently secretary of the Indonesian National Geoparks Committee, had noted last August.
Out of Indonesia's 15 national geoparks, four -- Batur in Bali, Ciletuh-Pelabuhanratu in West Java, Gunung Sewu in Yogyakarta, and Rinjani in NTB -- have been included into the List of UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp).
No less than 110 regions across Indonesia have the potential to be developed into geoparks, he pointed out. The figure is small in comparison with China which has 220 of them, of which 39 have been included in the List of UGGps.