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Sustainable Tourism Background

Indonesia has adopted the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) launched by the United Nations in 2015. Three out of the 17 SDGs are related to the tourism sector. In the context of tourism, these goals include:

1. Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

“By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.”

2. Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

“Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.”

3. Goal 14: Life Below Water

“By 2030, increase the economic benefits to SIDs (Small Island Developing States) and LDCs (least developed countries) from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.”

Sustainable Tourism Framework

The UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) defines Sustainable Tourism as:

“Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”

The Ministry of Tourism Indonesia has implemented Sustainable Tourism through a program called Sustainable Tourism for Development (STDev), which prioritizes the following principles: People (Cultural Preservation for People and Visitors), Planet (Environmental Preservation), Prosperity (The Utilization of the Economy for Locals), and Management (The Management of Sustainable Tourism Destinations).

The above principles focus on:

  • People: Observe the wishes and desires of tourists and how to involve them in sustainable tourism activities along with local residents.
  • Planet: Maintain and manage the environment to ensure the sustainability of a tourism destination.
  • Prosperity: Increase the economic value of a tourism destination and empower the community living in this destination.
  • Management: A guide for stakeholders in the tourism industry that includes the aspects of safety, convenience and climate change mitigation.

These principles serve as a guideline. A more in-depth explanation of these principles is described in the Republic of Indonesia Minister of Tourism Regulation No. 14 Year 2016 on the Guideline for Sustainable Tourism Destination, which is based on the criteria made by the GSTC (The Global Sustainable Tourism Council) and has been acknowledged by the UNWTO. Click here to download the complete file.

By adhering to these principles and the motto “To Preserve is to Prosper”, Sustainable Tourism in Indonesia is expected to maintain and preserve the Indonesian culture and environment as well as provide many benefits to the nation and its people.

Sustainable Tourism Main Programs 


1 | Sustainable Tourism Destination (STD)

Sustainable Tourism Destination (STD) is a program that applies the concept of sustainable tourism in destinations determined by the Ministry in collaboration with the local administrations of regencies and cities.

The STD program is currently focusing on the following regencies/ cities or areas:

1.    Tanjung Lesung
2.    Tanjung Kelayang
3.    Danau Toba
4.    Bromo Tengger Semeru
5.    Kepulauan Seribu
6.    Mandalika
7.    Borobudur
8.    Wakatobi
9.    Morotai
Labuan Bajo

2 | Sustainable Tourism Observatory (STO)

The Sustainable Tourism Observatory is a collection of observatories that implement sustainable tourism. These observatories are located in tourism destinations that are the main focus of monitored locations. Universities have been appointed to each observatory to serve as the Monitoring Center for Sustainable Tourism Observatory (MCSTO).

There are currently 24 STOs that are registered at and acknowledged by the UNWTO. Five out of these 24 STOs are located in Indonesia as follows:

1. STO Sleman monitored by Gadjah Mada University
2. STO Pangandaran monitored by the Bandung Institute of Technology
3. STO Lombok Barat (Sesaot) monitored by the University of Mataram
4. STO Sanur monitored by Udayana University
5. STO Samosir (Pangururan) monitored by the University of North Sumatra

Indonesia is the second country in Asia Pacific after China that implements the STO program and is a member of the INSTO (International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories).

The Ministry of Tourism is also preparing 7 new STOs, which are:

1. STO Tanjung Lesung monitored by the University of Indonesia
2. STO Tanjung Kelayang monitored by the Bogor Agricultural University
3. STO Kepulauan Seribu monitored by Pancasila University
4. STO Bromo Tengger Semeru monitored by Airlangga University
5. STO Labuan Bajo monitored by the University of Flores
6. STO Morotai monitored by Khairun University
7. STO Wakatobi monitored by University of Halu Oleo

3 | Sustainable Tourism Certification (STC)

Sustainable Tourism Certification (STC) is a certification program for tourism destinations that have already implemented the concept of sustainable tourism. This program will be coordinated by the ISTC (Indonesia Sustainable Tourism Council).

Sustainable Tourism Annual Events 


Indonesia Sustainable Tourism Awards (ISTA)

ISTA is an award held by the Ministry of Tourism Indonesia (MOT Indonesia) aimed at raising the awareness of tourism destination managers about the importance of building sustainable tourism.

In addition, this program is also a means to evaluate the qualifications of a destination in implementing the principles of sustainable tourism in Indonesia according to Minister of Tourism Regulation No. 14 Year 2016.

In 2018, 176 managers of tourism destinations from across the nation participated in ISTA 2018. This was a rise compared to the number of participants during the first ISTA in 2017, which only amounted to 96 tourism destinations.

The Ministry of Tourism Indonesia will then support ISTA’s winners to participate in international sustainable tourism award events, such as the ASEAN Sustainable Tourism Award (ASTA), and promote these destinations on the Ministry of Tourism’s Indonesian Sustainable Tourism website.

Indonesia Sustainable Tourism Photo Competition (ISTPC)

ISTPC is a photo competition aimed at promoting the concept of sustainable tourism to the people. Everyone, including Indonesians and foreigners living in Indonesia or overseas, is eligible to participate in the competition through social media. The photos should focus on the concept of Sustainable Tourism in tourist destinations across Indonesia. 265 participants from 20 countries participated in the ISTPC 2018.

Hi sustainable warriors! Start your journey to explore Indonesia’s Sustainable Tourism and discover what you can give to the future.
Contact Us

Kementerian Pariwisata Indonesia
Gedung Sapta Pesona
Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat No.17, RT. 2/ RW. 3,
Gambir, Kota Jakarta Pusat,
Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10110


Sustainable Warriors

”The Regulation of Minister of Tourism about Sustainable Tourism Guidelines was adopted from the international standard of Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) that considers three main aspects: People, Planet, and Prosperity.”


- Arief Yahya, Minister of Tourism of The Republic of Indonesia

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“Tourism is now the number one priority for our economy. As a country where half of its population is comprised of millennials, the government needs to shift its paradigm and conform its policies to current technological advancements. Sustainable tourism is the key to making our tourism 4.0 resilient and inclusive.” 


- Valerina Daniel | Advisor to the Minister of Tourism on Sustainable Tourism Development, Judge of ISTA 2019

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"Tourism in Indonesia is one of the means for improving the nation’s identity, maintaining the unity of territories and the nation in Indonesia, and also improving economic yield. Therefore, the development of tourism must be sustainable in order to become the source of strength for Indonesia’s tourism sector in the future."


- I Gede Ardika, Honorary Judge of ISTA 2019

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"Sustainable tourism must be carried out in Indonesia because the pillars of sustainable tourism are Economy, Socio-cultural, and Environmental. Meanwhile, the improvement of the planet can be done through sustainable tourism, as long there is willingness and motivation to do so, especially in Indonesia. Based on our past experience of holding ISTA twice, we can observe that Indonesia’s tourism destinations have already begun to implement things that encourage sustainability, which led to improvements in the economy, society and environment.”

- Diena M. Lemy, Judge of ISTA 2019

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"I hope the implementation of ISTA will encourage the emergence of more top destinations that are appealing enough to advance Indonesia’s tourism sector. Therefore, we need to think about how these potential destinations can be nurtured to keep growing and improving in order to meet global standards and attract more visitors to Indonesia, advance Indonesia’s tourism sector and improve the welfare of the Indonesian people.” 

- Jonathan L. Parapak, Honorary Judge of ISTA 2019

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“The Sustainable Tourism program is a great program because it was first adopted by developed countries. Upon entering the third year of ISTA, we will be learning a lot and the number of participants might increase because they have a better understanding on the concept of sustainable tourism. I believe other industries may not be as strong as the tourism industry in implementing sustainable tourism because if a destination is not sustainable, then people often choose not to visit the destination.”

- Jatna Supriatna, Head of the Board of Judges ISTA 2019

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“Sustainable tourism is the future of Indonesia’s tourism sector. First, it’s because by implementing the concept of sustainable tourism, we ensure that Indonesia is an option for the millennial market, which strongly requires an integrated balance among economic, socio-cultural and environmental values. Second, the sustainable tourism program is one of the ways we can enhance our strength on a regional scale, especially in Asia Pacific and ASEAN. We want Indonesia to be established a reference and hub for sustainable tourism practices.”

- Frans Teguh, Judge of ISTA 2019

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“Sustainable tourism must be implemented in villages because Indonesia has around 78,000 villages. Therefore, if we want to develop this concept, then we must start with outermost or rural areas so the residents don’t flock to the city. The implementation of sustainable tourism in villages is also an effort to conserve local cultures and traditions because they are autonomic regions that still maintain their traditions.”


- Robby Ardiwijaya, Judge of ISTA 2019

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“Tourism is proven to be the spearhead, and even the key, to the development of the national economy. Therefore, what we must do nowadays is establish the sustainable development of tourism because the development of tourism cannot be stunted midway and must continue to push forward to ensure that Indonesia becomes a top destination for the tourism sector. The world’s greatest and prosperous countries are countries that have top tourism destinations. The development of sustainable tourism is a necessity and must always be considered as the creed for Indonesia’s national development, especially the development of the tourism sector.” 

- Riant Nugroho, Judge of ISTA 2019

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“Sustainable development, including the development of sustainable tourism, is challenging for developing countries. As an emerging economy, Indonesia is in desperate need of implementing sustainable tourism practices for the sake of its future. ISTA, which has been held since 2017, is expected to guide the Indonesian government’s efforts, through the Ministry of Tourism, in realizing sustainable tourism.”

- Winda M. Mingkid, Judge of ISTA 2019

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“The Sustainable Tourism Certification (STC) falls under the series of activities under the Ministry of Tourism’s Sustainable Tourism for Development program. It begins with a Sustainable Tourism Destination (STD), which is the implementation of the concept of sustainable tourism at a tourism destination along with the destination’s regional administration. It is then followed up with the Sustainable Tourism Observatory (STO) where local administrations collaborate with universities to monitor certain destinations. In the end, we want all destinations to be certified as sustainable tourism destinations.”

- Mari Elka Pangestu, Honorary Judge of ISTA 2019

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