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Members only: Administration limits Komodo National Park visitors to 50,000 a year

Djemi Amnifu

The Jakarta Post

Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara  /  Wed, August 5, 2020  /  04:30 pm
Members only: Administration limits Komodo National Park visitors to 50,000 a year

Pink Beach (pictured) is one of the most popular destinations at Komodo National Park. The East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration will only allow 50,000 visitors, both foreign and domestic, to Komodo National Park every year, in addition to requiring a paid membership. (JP/Markus Makur)

The East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration will only allow 50,000 foreign and domestic visitors to Komodo National Park in West Manggarai regency, Flores, each year, in addition to requiring a membership to visit the world-renowned island.

"Komodo Island is designated as a conservation island. Tourists who want to enter must be registered as members and we allow no more than 50,000 visitors a year," East Nusa Tenggara Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat told reporters on Tuesday.

In addition to conservation purposes, he said the cap on tourist visits was because the national park was a “super-premium” tourist destination where people could see the Komodo dragon, the largest reptile species, in its natural habitat.

The administration also banned the development of lodging facilities within the national park, fearing that it would disturb the dragons' habitat. "Construction of a hotel should be in the Tana Mori [area in West Manggarai]. I will only allow floating hotels with a capacity of 80 to 100 around Komodo National Park," he said.

Last year, the East Nusa Tenggara Tourism and Creative Economy Agency introduced the membership system, which is set to be implemented this year with the island entry pass priced at US$1,000 per year per person. Tourists without a membership card would be directed to nearby Rinca Island, which is also home to Komodo dragons.

Read also: Komodo Island eyes 50,000 tourists after premium membership system introduced

Viktor welcomed the addition of the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry's Labuan Bajo and Flores Tourism Authority (BOPLBF) in maintaining and managing the national park. "In my opinion, the BOPLBF has done a good job. They synergize well with the provincial and regency administrations and other stakeholders."

However, he also hoped that the authority would contribute innovative ideas and continue its assistance for the premium destination push. Furthermore, he hoped that the agency could accompany and train local businesses to improve the local economy and welfare.

On the same occasion, Ade Deriyan Jayamarta, deputy to the tourism and creative economy minister specializing in security, said that he visited the province to see if the BOPLBF was helpful to the administration in managing the national park.

"One of our tasks in coming here is to monitor and audit the implementation of the BOPLBF. Whether it is executed well enough to help develop super-premium tourism in Labuan Bajo and if there are obstacles, we hope that they can be explained and resolved as soon as possible," he said.

BOPLBF president director Shana Fatina said in April that the agency would spend up to Rp 4 billion (US$257,549) to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region's tourism industry through emergency, recovery and normalization measures. (mfp)

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