In June 2004 Queen Noor of Jordan presented the prestigious World Legacy Award in a ceremony held at the National Geographic Society's Headquarters in Washington D.C.. The award, jointly sponsored by the National Geographic Society and Conservation International, is given to international businesses and organizations selected for their dedication to protecting the local environment and culture in sustainable ways that provide income to the local community.
Lombok Cited for Destination Stewardship
The Rinjani Trek, on Bali's nearest neighboring island to the east, was lauded in the award citation as "a place doing superb work in protecting its overall natural and cultural heritage, the volcanic heart of the island of Lombok, Indonesia. Visitors to this tropical island enjoy long jungle treks to the awe-inspiring crater valley, waterfalls and hot springs, and emerge from the forest canopy to enjoy an amazing panoramic ocean view. The Rinjani program is exemplary for its strong partnership among local community groups, tourism industry and national park, and has successfully withstood the recent deep dip in Indonesia's tourism."
At 3,726m, Mount Rinjani is the second highest volcanic peak in Indonesia and is a part of the celebrated "Ring of Fire." Gunung Rinjani National Park lies within a major bio-geographical transition zone (Wallaceae), where the flora and fauna of South East Asia meets that of Australasia. The National Park, one of over 40 throughout Indonesia, was established in 1997. For the people of Lombok, Sasak and Balinese alike, Mount Rinjani is revered as a sacred place and abode of deities. The crater lake is a pilgrimage destination for tens of thousands each year. For tourists, the three-day Rinjani Trek route from Senaru to the crater rim, down to the crater lake then on to Sembalun Lawang, is considered one of the best treks in South East Asia. More adventurous trekkers aim for the summit; best reached from Sembalun Lawang returning after four days to Senaru.
The Rinjani Trek Ecotourism Program has been developed since 1999 with assistance from New Zealand's International Aid and Development Agency (NZAID). To strengthen conservation and ensure that communities on the boundary of the National Park benefit from tourism revenues, community-run co-operatives coordinate the trek at the Rinjani Trek Centre in Senaru and the Rinjani Information Centre in Sembalun Lawang. Each has roster systems for guides and porters, village tour activities and handicraft sales. Revenue from tourism activities and entry fees is used for conservation, training, management and assisting the National Park with maintenance of the Rinjani Trek, thus ensuring sustainability. Overseeing and supporting these activities is the Rinjani Trek Management Board, combining the authority of the central government and local government, with the voices of Lombok tourism's private sector and boundary communities. This institutional model is unique in Indonesia and has now been recognized in the World Legacy Awards as a global example for practical implementation of the ideals of ecotourism.
Drs Tjokorda Suthenda Rai head of West Lombok Tourism and Ir. Tedi Sutedi Msc Director of Gunung Rinjani National Park, traveled to Washington D.C. to receive the Destination Stewardship Award from Queen Noor.
Winners in the other three World Legacy Award categories were Al Maha Desert Resort in United Arab Emirates for Nature Travel, Anangu Tours in Australia's Northern Territory for Heritage Tourism, and Casuarina Beach Club in Barbados for General Purpose Hotels.
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