DU Wiki > Ă„mnen - Subjects > Tourism studies > KG3012 > Seminar 1 Cultural and natural World Heritage sites > Indonesia > Indonesian World Heritage Sites

Indonesian World Heritage Sites

    Table of contents
    No headers


    Indonesia, an archipelago nation of no less than 17,508 islands stretched over 5,200 kilometers in equator between Australia and Asia (Drakeley, 2005), has been inhabited over millennia. Civilizations had been arisen and fallen, leaving numerous of legacies within the nowadays Indonesia. One of the remains from the golden age of Buddhism is Borobudur Temple Compounds, one of the UNESCO World Heritage List added in 1991, built by the once ruling Syailendra Dynasty between 750 and 842 AD (PT. Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan & Ratu Boko, 2011). The site is located in Muntilan Village in Magelang regency, about 42 km from Yogyakarta city in Central Java, consists of three monuments: namely the Borobudur Temple and two smaller temples, Pawon and Mendut, situated to the east on a straight axis respectively 1,15 and 3 kilometers away to the main monument (PT. Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan & Ratu Boko, 2011). It represents an outstanding example of Indonesia’s art and architecture, blending the idea of indigenous ancestor worship and the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana (UNESCO, 2013a). The Borobudur Temple covers an enormous area, measuring 123 x 123 meters and decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues (MTCE, 2012).

    According to UNESCO (2013a) the main threat to the ensemble is from development that could compromise the extraordinary relationship between the main monument and its wider setting and could also affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The approach to the property has to a degree already been compromised by weak developmental regulations. Tourism also exerts considerable pressure on the property and its hinterland. Cassel & Pashkevich (2011) note that another challenge faced by heritage sites is deterioration related to human wear-and-tear and natural decay. A resemble condition is happening on the building stone, the cause of which needs further research, a small degree of damage caused by unsupervised visitors and the eruption of Mount Merapi is also considered as one of the potential threats because of its deposit acidic ash, as happened in 2010 (MTCE, 2010).

    Furthermore, the lack of control of commercial activities and the pressure resulting from the lack of an adequate tourism management strategy are other potential challenges by the complex. There are three entities that are responsible for the site management, the Borobudur Heritage Conservation Office (under Ministry of Culture and Creative Economy), a state-owned enterprise PT. Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan dan Ratu Boko (under Ministry of Enterprises) and the local governments (Magelang Regency and Central Java Province). Each or altogether are conducting various approaches in managing the site and ensure its sustainability development. An example is a study on the integrated management of Borobudur Temple Compounds which comprises consideration for the ecosystem, social and cultural aspects, ecotourism, public and private partnership and organizational feasibility study (UNESCO, 2013a).

    The management encourage the local community to participate in the activity by organizing community development programs. The programs include raising awareness among the youth about the essential values and features of the compound as heritage site, training as specialist guide and entrepreneurship workshops on small enterprises (mostly on handicrafts and culinaries). According to Cassel & Pashkevich (2013), the WH status is used for branding and promotes innovative thinking within destination development. The same strategy is implemented within the site and also Guinness World Record recognition as world’s biggest single Buddhist monument (MTCE, 2012) make valuable selling points for the site to be recognized worldwide as a remarkable tourist destination, especially for heritage tourism. Publication is also essential to promote the site and also celebrity endorsement as another used strategy, named from Maria Sharapova (Projecting Indonesia, 2013) and Richard Gere (Wahyuni, 2011) who brought up an idea to create a movie about Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles who was credited for the re-discovery of the temple in 1814.



    Komodo National Park is well-known throughout the world for its endemic and endangered species which is found nowhere else on the planet, the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis), also considered as world’s biggest lizard. It covers 2,321 square kilometers, includes both land and marine areas, and consists of five main islands: Komodo, Rinca, Padar, Gili Motang and Nusa Kode as well as several smaller islands (MTCE, 2013). The park also hosts several terrestrial faunas even though the diversity is not high, it is important for conservation as some species are endemic. In contrary, the marine area rich in diversity for marine life ranging from fishes, corals and sea mammals amongst many others (BTNK, 2013).

    Located in the province of East Nusa Tenggara between Sumbawa and Flore islands, the area was declared National Park in 1980 and Marine Protected Area in 2000 to protect the endangered Komodo dragons and their environment, as well as the biodiversity of the islands. It received the status as UNESCO WHS in 1991. There are four inhabited villages within the national park with a total of about 4.250 people, as of 2010, mostly rely on fishing for their main source of income.

    A study by Walpole & Goodwin (2001) on attitude of local community towards tourism activities in Komodo National Park suggests that benefits from tourism are not equally distributed. Although overall the attitudes are positive, there are some cultural impacts most noticeably from an incompatible style of dress among foreign visitors as the inhabitants are predominantly Muslims. Furthermore, the study reveals that there are not many negative attitudes toward tourism but Walpole & Goodwin (2001) note that it may change, as tourism and conservations may change as tourism develops.

    Moreover, no common view on what the tourist product should be or how the role of the World Heritage should be interpreted in terms of tourism activities (Cassel & Pashkevich, 2011) could also create a problem to market KNP, as there are many features that can be commercialized into tourism activities. Aas, Ladkin and Fletcher (2005) quoted from Nuryanti that the relationship between heritage and tourism is frequently characterized by contradictions and conflicts whereby conservationists perceive heritage tourism as compromising conservation goals for profit. In accordance with study by Cassel & Pashkevich (2013) that the balance between preservation and commercialization is an ongoing issue where stakeholders have different opinions on how to best manage a site.

    Increasing levels of tourism and matters related specifically to the komodo lizard are the major management issues that have been focused on to date (UNESCO, 2013b). A focus on the issue of depletion of Komodo monitor prey species stocks has resulted in some success. The single largest threat to the marine resourcesis destructive fishing practices in the area using fish bombs or other poisonous substances (BTNK, 2013). However, the park management under the Ministry of Forestry has set up the 25 year Management Master Plan to guideline the development sustainability of the KNP which includes empowerment of small industries, education and community based tourism development.

    The image of Komodo dragon itself is the main selling point for the KNP to market the site as appeared in many footages, film or TV programs. Beside the recognition of World Heritage status, the New 7 Wonders of Nature and the Guinness World of Record, celebrity endorsement is also used for marketing the KNP.



    BTNK – Balai Taman Nasional Komodo (The Office of Komodo National Park)

    KNP - Komodo National Park

    MTCE - Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy

    UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

    WHS - World Heritage Site



    Aas, C., Ladkin, A., & Fletcher, J., 2005. Stakeholder Collaboration and Heritage Management. Annals of Tourism Research,32 (1), 28-48.

    Borobudur, Prambanan & Ratu Boko, 2011. About Borobudur [online]. PT. Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan & Ratu Boko. Available from:[Accessed 7 November 2013].

    Cassel S.H., and Pashkevich, A. 2011. Heritage Tourism and Inherited Institutional Structures: The Case of Falun Great Copper Mountain. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism,11 (1), 54-75.

    Cassel S.H., and Pashkevich, A. 2013. World heritage and Tourism Innovation: Institutional Frameworks and Local Adaptation. European Planning Studies [online]. Available from:[Accessed 5 November 2013].

    Drakeley, S., 2005. The History of Indonesia [online]. Wesport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group.

    Jakarta Globe, 2009. Komodo Park Officially One of New 7 Wonders of Nature‘ [online]. Jakarta Globe. Available from:[Accessed 8 November 2013].

    Projecting Indonesia, 2013. Even Sharapova promotes the maginificent Borobudur Temple [online]. Projecting Indonesia. Available from:[Accessed 8 November 2013].

    Taman Nasional Komodo, 2013. Komodo National Park [online]. Balai Taman Nasional Komodo. Available from:[Accessed 7 November 2013].

    UNESCO World Heritage List, 2013a. Borobudur Temple Compounds [online]. UNESCO. Available from:[Accessed 7 November 2013].

    UNESCO World Heritage List, 2013b. Komodo National Park [online]. UNESCO. Available from:[Accessed 7 November 2013].

    Wahyuni, S., 2011. Richard Gere: Karma brings me to Borobudur [online]. The Jakarta Post. Available from:[Accessed 8 November 2013].

    Walpole, M.J., and Goodwin, H.J., 2001. Local attitudes towards conservation and tourism around Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Environmental Conservation [online].28(2), 160-166.

    Wonderful Indonesia, 2010. Red Alert Merapi Still On: Borobudur Closed to Climb [online]. Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. Available from:[Accessed 7 November 2013].

    Wonderful Indonesia, 2012. Guinness World Record declares Borobudur Single Largest Buddhist Temple in the World [online]. Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. Available from:[Accessed 7 November 2013].

    Wonderful Indonesia, 2013. Komodo National Park: Into the Heart of the Dragons [online]. Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. Available from:[Accessed 7 November 2013].

    Files (0)


    Comments (4)

    Viewing 4 of 4 comments: view all
    To start with your two articles were really interesting to read, especially because I don’t know anything about Indonesia. I liked the fact that you described Indonesia. I was not expecting that it was so huge and with so many islands! I also liked that you gave a lot of information about the two heritage sites. However, maybe you should add some pictures at the end, just to make sure the reader can understand well the context, the places and the article.
    In my opinion, the parts about managerial challenges should be highlighted. But it is great that you used some literature. Each challenge is described in detail. For the first article (Borobudur Temple Compounds), you talk about “community development programs” especially within the youth, and I think that this is an important point.
    Another positive point: you used a lot of sources.
    Posted 14:36, 12 Nov 2013
    I agree, the list of literature is very impressive! I also like your presentation of the sites, although you have being nervous while presenting. I think that you had no reasons for that after reading your text. I also agree that highlighting the managerial issues and taking them out in a separate paragraph would make your text even easier to read, so that is something to think about.
    However, I wanted to go back to the discussion we had in the class. In the societies where the overall level of culture is insignificant it is difficult to prevent people from vandalising a cultural heritage sites. The measures are need to be taken in order to prevent it. I believe that the local society need to become better involved in this process parallel to the reinforcement of the law punishing those who do not seem to understand. I think if the local people would feel like they are a part of it and not only using it, as a stage for selling things to tourists it will make a huge difference. This kind of learning processes take a long time to implement, but I believe that they give the best results in the end.
    Thank you for your presentation, best,
    Posted 21:11, 12 Nov 2013
    I like your texts as well, but I would make two seperate pages out of them and highlight the managerial challanges (just as the other two comments suggest).
    Posted 17:11, 14 Nov 2013
    Thank you for the suggestions. I would like to put highlight the managerial issues so it would be easier to read.
    I thought I was so relax during the presentation, maybe it was just a bit explosive way I would try to present something :)
    About the vandalism, it is an issue that should be overcome with education and it is a long term issue. The local communities are quite aware about preserving and the importance of the site. However, in my opinion the management and the authorities have to do a radical way to enforce the law on punishing the vandals. The site security itself is already well-protected so that not everyone can easily enter the site. Hopefully with the ongoing new management plan, there will be a way to prevent or minimize the problem with vandalism.
    Posted 21:12, 17 Nov 2013
    Viewing 4 of 4 comments: view all
    You must login to post a comment.