Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Tourism Ministry expects the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to recognize Kaldera Toba Geopark in North Sumatra province this year to speed up the development at the tourist site.

The government and relevant parties have taken various steps, including implementing UNESCO recommendations to allow Kaldera Toba to meet the qualifications of a geopark, said H Yunus Kusumahbrata, chief of the team charged with accelerating the development of geoparks, on Friday.

"The government hopes UNESCO will endorse Kaldera Toba Geopark this year. It also expects that big opportunities must be taken and challenges must be overcome with regard to the geopark in the vicinity of Lake Toba," he said on the sidelines of a seminar, "Facing New Challenges and Opportunities of Global Geopark Tourism", held in Medan, North Sumatra.

The seminar featured Director of Asia-Pacific, Global Sustainable, Tourism Council of the Korea National Geopark, Committee Member, Mihee Kang, professor of University of Central Lancashire, UK (Madrid) Miguel Rivas Fernandez, Yala Rajabhat of University Thailand, and Associate Professor Vichit Rangpan.

The Indonesian speakers were chief of the Indonesia Geopark Network Budi Marton and researcher and geologist Indyo Pratom of Bandung, West Java.

"The challenges and opportunities at the Kaldera Toba Geopark should be clearly known so we need inputs from various parties, including international ones," he said.

Indonesia has 19 geoparks. However, only four of them have been recognized by UNESCO.

Translator: Evalisa Siregar, Suharto
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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