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The need for a planning framework to preserve the wildness of Sibayak Volcano, north Sumatra

Newsome, D. (2010) The need for a planning framework to preserve the wildness of Sibayak Volcano, north Sumatra. In: Erfurt-Cooper, P. and Cooper, M., (eds.) Volcano and geothermal tourism: sustainable geo-resources for leisure and recreation. Earthscan, London, pp. 131-139.

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Indonesia has more volcanoes than any other country, with 130 active volcanoes and 76 significant eruptions recorded during historical times. Marapi volcano in Sumatra is the most active and has erupted about 50 times since its first recorded eruption in 1770. Merapi volcano, located in Central Java and which last erupted in 2007, was active throughout the Holocene. This frequent and widespread volcanic activity results from the subduction of the Indian Ocean crust underneath the Asian Tectonic Plate. The resultant island arc extends some 3000km from north-west Sumatra eastwards to the Banda Sea.

Over time many of these volcanoes have become a focus of attention for the cultural activities of local people, sites of international tourist visitation and areas where local and domestic tourists recreate. Many volcanoes in Indonesia have a long history of human interest and visitation, for example, Bromo, Merapi, Krakatau, Gede and Tangkuban Parahu, with the latter receiving around 1000 visitors a day. Indonesian volcanoes are included on global volcano visit agendas and several are listed in the top ten in the world to visit (see Travellers Digest, 2009).

According to Vaisutis et al (2007) the top volcanoes to visit in Java are Bromo, Merapi (last eruption in 2007) and Krakatau (last ash eruption in 2009), and in Sumatra Sibayak, Marapi and Kerinci. The focus of this chapter is on Sibayak (Figure 8.1) because it is a widely promoted site to visit on the north Sumatra tourism circuit, is one of the most accessible volcanoes in Indonesia and is popular with day-trippers from Medan. The issues surrounding visitation to Sibayak are explored from the perspective of site access, observation of visitor attitudes towards the volcano, and how the volcano is presented to the visitor as a geotourism destination. At present there is no suitable planning framework in place that is able to adequately assess, predict and manage uncontrolled recreation and tourism at Sibayak. Attention is therefore given as to how sustainable geotourism might be conducted through the application of a tourism-planning framework.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Earthscan
Copyright: (c) Patricia Erfurt-Cooper and Malcolm Cooper
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