Mangadar Situmorang: Sustainable and Holistic Ecotourism Is What The Authority Should Put As The Grand Design of Lake Toba

Mangadar Situmorang

Mangadar Situmorang

News Wire

News are widespread on the plan issued by Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli when he is cited to upbeat the management of Lake Toba by a single agency.

“By focusing on the development pattern, there are sufficient funds available to build the necessary facilities,” said Rizal Ramli after attending a limited cabinet meeting on planned development of Lake Toba tourist destination at the Presidential Office in Jakarta on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

With budget allocated set at 21 thrillion rupiahs, this will be the most heavily targeted megaproject by all stakeholders.


The following steps that needs to be carried out by the government is cleaning fish waste in Lake Toba. At least 246 tons of fish fodder is scattered into the lake each month, while 20 percent of it is not eaten and so pollute the lake ecosystem. This is one among other challenges that needs to be brought in order to make a stable environmental support for the big plan itself.

The government also has set up a scheme so that seven regions around Lake Toba would benefit from the positive impacts of development in the region.
Lake Toba is one of the top 10 prioritized tourist destinations, namely Borobudur, Mandalika, Labuan Bajo, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru, Thousand Islands, Lake Toba, Wakatobi, Tanjung Lesung, Morotai, and Tanjung Kelayang. Directly order from the president, this agenda should not be delayed for the common good of the people (bonum commune) especially for the local people.

Sustainable and Holistic Ecotourism: An offer from the very local people.
It is interesting to notice that this design has attracted so many attentions.

Put that in bipolar perspective and you will see that views are coming from both the very local people and other stakeholders that – probably are not really understand what happens in the regions surrounding Lake Toba – but still want to contribute in that project in any kind of approach.
Put that in unpolarized perspective and you will find so many insights and criticism, both destructive and constructive ideas.

Mangadar Situmorang, a consistent environmental activist and scholar, who currently is the rector of Catholic University of Parahyangan Bandung, recently wrote some enlightening and brief notions about the issue in Kompas, the biggest newspaper in the country, dated February 10th, 2016.

You can simply have the printed version in

As I read his brief notions, his ideas are very simple yet the most decent ones.
With social justice as the purpose of the country with 250 million people, so does the development of Lake Toba for about 600.000 people living in its surroundings.
To Mangadar, it is so clear that there are three main keys that becomes the raisons d’etre of the formation of Lake Toba Authority Board (Badan Otorita Danau Toba or simply abbreviated as BODT).

First, coordination. Through this body the whole dimension of the tourism industry can be synergized into an integrated package.

Second, acceleration. Through this body the previous and current slow and very bureaucratic work patterns is now attempted to accelerate both in coordinative and istructive method.

Third, execution. With this sole authority, compromises that have long endured and bottlenecked any good governmental decision-making, will be overcome. In short, BODT intended to immediately execute the constitutional mandate Nawacita, brand promises of presidential politics agenda that the entire people of this country has yet to look for its realizations.

21 trillion rupiahs is a big money.

And if you are reading the newspaper or simply hear the chitchats and media blow up, either you are well-minded businessmen or just an ordinary people that really takes this mega-project as a common concern, I just want to encourage you not to forget the main purpose of Lake Toba development.

Mangadar has shoot the idea so clear.

He continued by saying as follows.

It is undeniable that all those three principles would be the framework of the BODT, by which the board itself will go hands in hands with the people to create sustainable ecotourism. It means that tourism sites in ​​Lake Toba will be a destination that will last forever. This megaproject is not merely a collection of short-term projects and sectors. Procurements and construction of infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, docks, or other physical facilities and the spatial arrangement, may be done in a relatively short time (e.g. up to 10 or 15 years); but the conservation of natural and historical values ​​and cultural community must continue because the real events and the economic benefits to be gained it all starts on the conservation of nature, history, and culture of the local community.

Therefore, the government established BODT decision should be read as a double unseparatable mission: conservation and harnessing. BODT has to honor all the wealth of nature, culture, tradition, and community, and at the same time use it as a source of revenue and sustainable community development. Both missions have to be taken simultaneously, mutually. Refererring to the main purpose of any kind of development, i.e. the common good (bonum commune), this will complete the perfect package, making it a holistic and sustainable ecotourism.

It can not be another way.

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