Borobudur Temple Compounds (Indonesia)
Borobudur Temple Compounds (Indonesia) will be discussed during the UNESCO World Heritage Committee Meeting this year. This site was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1991.
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For me, who studied Asian art history at university, Borobudur Temple is one of sites that I wanted to visit in my life (not yet, unfortunately-!). However, tourism pressure on the site is very high, as the government of Indonesia aspires its boost more than before (see the following news article: https://apnews.com/article/indonesia-international-news-bali-asia-pacific-religion-d59a9d98714049e1996d16374705103f). Indeed, the discussion on this site at the World Heritage Committee this time actually started from the ambitious tourism development plan of the government. Of course, tourism is important for the local community, but it should be promoted in a sustainable manner. Adequate Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) will ensure the way forward.
Another interesting point that I'd like to bring the attention is the issue of management, in particular, its legal mechanism. The site is managed by several different entities (property: BCO under the Ministry of Education and Culture; buffer zone: PT Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur Prambanan and
Ratu Bako under the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises; outside the buffer zone: Regional Government of Magelang Regency under the Ministry of Home Affairs). As ICOMOS recommended, the site needs a body to facilitate the communication and cooperation among those entities, and as suggested, the Ministry of Education and Culture and BCO can play a leading role.
An adequate Heritage Impact Assessment will be essential, as well as the creation of a unified management body. In addition, a study on tourism flow and development seems to be quite important too (and not only for Borobudur!). In fact, how can we be so sure that the number of tourists will rise for ever? Or even be stable? Does more investment on tourism industry fully guarantee a growth? Isn't the spread of COVID also a warning from this point of view?