A delegation of the Korea Forest Service - KFS undertook a mission in Indonesia on March 4 to 8, 2018, as part of its bilateral cooperation activities.
The 8-member delegation of KFS, an independent agency specializing in forestry that is overseen by the Korean Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, was led by Mr. Ki Yeon KO, Director General of the International Affairs Bureau of KFS. It included two participants from the private sector, Ms. Catherine GERMIER-HAMEL, Founder & CEO of Seoul-based Millennium Destinations, who participated as Ecotourism / Community-Based Tourism Expert, and Mr. KIM Hyungsoo, CEO of social enterprise TreePlanet. Mr. CHO Baeksu from the Korea Forest Welfare Institute, a public organization affiliated with KFS, was also part of the delegation.
On March 6, 2018, the delegation, together with representatives of the Korean embassy in Indonesia and the Korea Indonesia Forest Center (KIFC), attended the opening ceremony of the TWA Gunung Tunak Community-Based Forest Recreation - Ecotourism Center, located in the Southern part of Lombok island, in Mertak, Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara Province.
250 people attended the ceremony, including high-level officials representing the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry and local authorities.
Tunak Center Project was designed in 2015 within the framework of the bilateral cooperation between KFS and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, following the signature of a Letter of Intent in July 2013. In this LoI, both parties agreed (between others) to make joint efforts to enhance cooperation in the field of ecotourism, and to encourage a better relationship through exchange of relevant experts and officials in ecotourism.
In October 2013, a Memorandum of Understanding on Forest Recreation and Ecotourism was signed in the presence of the Presidents of the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Indonesia, on the occasion of a state visit commemorating 40-year diplomatic relation between both countries. As a continuation, a basic plan for establishing a forest recreation and eco-tourism center and conducting a capacity-building program (2015~2018) was developed.
Unlike its neighbor Bali, Lombok has been relatively preserved from mass tourism, although it has gained increasing popularity over the past few years.
Located in the same region as Tunak Center, the upcoming opening of Mandalika Resort in Kuta Bay should contribute to bring even more domestic and foreign tourists. The resort has been designed to promote sustainable tourism and will include an eco-park. It will also be a center for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions).
Due to its abundant forest resources, biodiversity, and cultural assets, Lombok offer a suitable environment for ecotourism. As poverty levels are high in the island, and particular in the Southern part, local communities would directly or indirectly benefit from forest recreation tourism / ecotourism development. The population of Mertak represents around 8,000 people, mostly farmers and fishermen, living in 21 villages.
Through this bilateral cooperation on forest recreation and ecotourism between KFS and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, several ecotourism programs and experiences will be developed over the next months, with the main purpose to bring tangible and intangible benefits for the local community.
Tunak Ecotourism Park / Center has the potential to be developed as a model for forest recreation tourism, ecotourism and community-based tourism in the region.
On March 7, a visit was organized for the representatives of Millennium Destinations, Tree Planet and the Korea Forest Welfare Institute at the Sentul Eco-Edu Tourism Forest center in Bogor, West Java, 60 km away from Jakarta, or 1.5 hour drive.
The SEETF opened in July 2013 and covers an area of 630 ha. It is managed by Perum Perhutani, which assigned a manager with 10 staffs. The project was implemented under the supervision of the Korea Indonesia Forest Center.