The Jakarta Post
Komodo National Park is the only place in the world where people can see the endangered Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
Plans to close Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara byJanuary 2020 have triggered a sense of unease among tourism businesses in West Manggarai regency, as well as foreign tourists and travel agencies, the Tourism Ministry has said.
According to Labuan Bajo Tourism Authority Board director Shana Fatina, the Natural Resource and Ecosystem Conservation (KSDAE) Directorate General has deployed a team to conduct a study on the closure plans.
"The team [is scheduled to send] a report [on the matter] in August," Shana said in a statement released on April 4.
Komodo Island, which is part of the Komodo National Park, is under the authority of the KSDAE Directorate General and the Environment and Forestry Ministry.
"If the government plans to temporarily close certain parts of the park or the entire area, it would need to be thoroughly planned and a sufficient deadline must be provided as [the closure] would have a significant social and economic impact," Shana added.
According to ministry data, the park earned Rp 33.16 billion (US$2.345 million) in 2018, up from Rp 29.1 billion in 2017, Rp 22.8 billion in 2016, Rp 19.2 billion in 2015 and Rp 5.4 billion in 2014.
Admission tickets to the park are valued at Rp 150,000 for foreigners and Rp 5,000 for domestic tourists.
Aside from Komodo Island, the region is also home to 42 diving and snorkeling spots that have attracted many visitors and brought significant economic growth, particularly for West Manggarai regency and its surrounding areas. (sop/kes)