Komodo’s ‘dirty’ facilities in need of improvement
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The West Manggarai administration in East Nusa Tenggara has been urged to improve supporting facilities on the island and its surrounding areas, following an increase of tourist arrivals to Komodo National Park in Labuan Bajo.
Komodo Kita Foundation head Emmy Hafild said that tourists most likely preferred to spend nights on boats instead of staying in Labuan Bajo since the town had yet to meet international standards of tourism.
The city of Labuan Bajo, for instance, did not yet have proper sanitation facilities, Hafild said.
“The facilities in Komodo Airport, especially its toilets, are still dirty. West Manggarai regency needs to improve all supporting facilities [to draw more tourists to the island],” she said.
The foundation, Hafild went on, had carried out a series of community action planning activities in several villages, including Komodo village, Papagarang village and Pasir Panjang village.
It had also carried out spatial planning in Kampong Tengah and Kampong Air in Labuan Bajo, held an English course and improved the programs of the Tourism Management Komodo Destination Organization.
Hafild was speaking during a recent presentation of the foundation’s work, attended by West Manggarai regent Agustinus Ch. Dulla, local residents and some NGOs.
Komodo National Park includes two major islands, Komodo and Rinca, which are home to the Komodo dragon and other species.
After being nominated as one of the new seven wonders of nature in 2011 and later named as a new wonder of nature earlier this year, the number of tourist arrivals has increased during the last two years.
In the contest held by the New 7 Wonders Foundation, the park received more than 200 million votes, sent via short text messages.
The other chosen wonders of the world are Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Jeju Island in South Korea, Iguazu Falls in Brazil, Puerto Princesa Underground River in the Philippines, Table Mountain in South Africa and the Amazon in South America.
As of April, the Komodo National Park has seen an increase in tourist arrivals to more than 40,000 visitors.
The island’s tourist arrivals stood at around 41,443 throughout 2011, while 41,117 tourists visited the island in 2010, the West Manggarai Tourism Agency reported.
In 2009, the number of tourists coming to the islands was 32,037 and only 21,773 people arrived in 2008. Data in the last four years shows that foreign tourists comprised around 80 percent of tourists visiting the island, with Australia, the US and European countries dominating.
With around nine flights a day into Labuan Bajo from Bali’s Denpasar, Jakarta and other cities across the country, compared to the previous two flights a day; it is now easier for tourists to travel to the island, said Hafild.