Ecotourism Development in Merapi Nature Reserve, Tanah Datar District, West Sumatra Province
Pengembangan Ekowisata di Suaka Alam Merapi, Kabupaten Tanah Datar, Provinsi Sumatera Barat.
Muntasib, E.K.S. Harini
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Merapi Nature Reserve is one of 21 conservation areas in West Sumatera. It has a unique natural feature, an active volcano known as Mount Merapi. There are several attractors in Merapi Nature Reserve, such as flora and fauna, Mount Merapi and other historical objects. The Reserve is located on a strategic place, near the major cities of West Sumatra which are Bukit Tinggi, Padang Panjang and Padang and also adjacent to villages with historical and cultural objects. Those attractors are potential to be developed into special interest tourism, such as natural tourism, educational tourism and cultural tourism. The community supported tourism development in the area. However, the potential had not been developed properly. The aim of the research is to plan ecotourism development in Merapi Nature Reserve, Tanah Datar District, West Sumatra Province. The research was conducted at Merapi Nature Reserve, particularly at Koto Baru Trail, Sepuluh Koto Subdistrict during July to September 2009. Instruments used in the research were questionnaire, scoring tables, interview schedule and map of Merapi Nature Reserve. While respondents were managers, local people (30 respondents) and visitors (100 respondents). Data were collected through literature review, interviews, questionnaires dissemination and field observations using resources supply approach. Analysis on ecotourism potentials consisted of two elements : attraction and accessibility, a modified of Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (DGFPNC’s of Tourism Objects and Attractions Assessment and Development, 2003). Scores for attractor element for 9 objects in Merapi Nature Reserve were : Pesangrahan Bung Hatta (690), Cadas (690), Parak Batuang (600), Paninjauan Shelter (600), Edelweis Park (540), Crater of Merapi (516), Tunnel Ferns (510), Peak Merpati (456) and Abel Tasman Monument (396). Meanwhile, every object had the sama score for accessibility element (650) which fell into high category. The total scores for attractor and accessibility elements were : Pesanggrahan Bung Hatta (1340), Cadas (1340), Parak Batuang (1250), Paninjauan Shelter (1250), Edelweis Park (1190), Crater of Merapi (1166), Tunnel Ferns (1160) and Peak Merpati (1106). Based on the modified DGFPNC’s criteria, the minimum total score for attractor and accessibility element should be 720 to be developed as ecotourism objects. The Abel Tasman Monument had total score of 1046 which exceed the minimum of 720. However, The Abel Tasman Monument had low score for the attractor element which exclude it from the object to be developed. Thus, only 8 objects were recommended to be developed. There were 5 recommendations for ecotourism development in Merapi Nature Reserve : (1) physical development for each object, (2) ecotourism activities development, there are 9 activities inside the area and 3 activities outside the area (3) ecotourism service development, consisted of facilities to the area, service and hospitality (4) ecotourism promotion development and (5) human resources development, dedicated to managers and a team of Merapi Adventure Camp (MAC).