Tourism Today, the most important cultural service provided by the Suma- tran orangutan’s habitat is its contribution to tourism (Map 26). Te main tourist attraction within Sumatran orangutan habitat is the former Bohorok orangutan rehabilitation centre, established in 1973 at Bukit Lawang, but officially closed as a rehabilitation centre in 1995. It remains, however, easy to observe orangutans in the area. During the 1990s Bukit Lawang became even more popular as a tourist destination than its nearest rival, Lake Toba, indicating the importance of orangutans in bolstering tourism.
Despite the clear interest in Bukit Lawang, international tourism in and around orangutan habitat areas remains relatively low, due
to a combination of previous political instability in Aceh, bomb- ings in Jakarta, and a general lack of investment in tourism de- velopment, promotion and infrastructure in the region, especially when compared to neighbouring countries. Even the Gunung Leuser National Park, with its unique biodiversity and stunning landscapes, attracts only about 15,000 visitors a year, and over half of these are foreign visitors (UNEP-WCMC 2010). Tour- ism opportunities exist at a number of sites within the Alas valley, where jungle treks of various levels of difficulty and duration are offered, during which orangutans and other wildlife can be ob- served and the scenic beauty of the forest can be enjoyed. Closer to Medan, the Tangkahan area also offers great opportunities for jungle treks with opportunities to see orangutans, either by foot