A viral picture of a Komodo dragon face to face with a truck carrying project materials at Rinca Island, one of the islands in Komodo National Park, has caused a commotion.
The truck is part of a geopark development project which the government is expecting to make Komodo National Park into Hollywood’s fictional tale of a special park dedicated to research and educational tourism about dinosaurs, “Jurassic Park“.
Quoting the official statement from the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR), the Komodo National Park project is part of the Super Priority National Tourism Strategic Area (KSPN) of Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
Komodo and Rinca Islands have been designated as national parks since 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon, or Varanus komodoensis, an ancient endemic animal that can only be found in East Nusa Tenggara.
One area that will undergo a significant design change is Rinca Island in West Manggarai Regency. The Komodo Island habitat will be massively transformed by the government and private investors to become a premium tourist destination.
The government claims that the projects carried out in Komodo National Park continue to prioritise sustainable ecological aspects the species and social elements for the surrounding population.
“The main objective of this concept is to promote the economic welfare of the people living around the area by developing the existing potential in a sustainable way,” said Public Works and Public Housing Minister, Basuki Hadimuljono.
The central Indonesian government has budgeted Rp69.96billion to organise the Rinca Island area. This includes an information centre, a souvenir shop, a café, and public toilets.
There will also be an area management office, selfie spot, clinic, warehouse, public open space, and lodgings for researchers. Construction will also include a trekking area for pedestrians and visitor shelters designed to be elevated so as to not interfere with Komodo traffic.
Basuki claims that infrastructure development has been planned in an integrated manner, including the arrangement of areas, roads, supply of raw water and clean water, waste management, sanitation, and improvement of residents’ housing through a master plan for infrastructure development.
Overall for 2020, the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing has allocated a budget of Rp902.47billion to work on 43 infrastructure activity packages at the Labuan Bajo National Tourism Strategic Areas (KSPN) which includes improving the quality of road and bridge services, provision of water resources, settlements, and housing. Basuki said that efforts to increase tourist visits to Labuan Bajo were being carried out in stages, with infrastructure improvements being a priority. The five Waterfront Zone arrangements are now entering the auction stage consisting of zone A Bukit Pramuka, zone B Kampung Air, zone C Docks, zone D Marina Beach area (Inaya Bay), and zone E Kampung Ujung.
“According to President Joko Widodo’s direction, all infrastructure development for Labuan Bajo must be completed in 2020. All designs have been completed, the auction started in December 2019, so that physical construction activities can begin in February-March and finish at the end of December 2020,” said Basuki.
The arrangement of the Labuan Bajo waterfront is split into five zones:
- Zone A development is to build a promenade or pedestrian zone equipped with comfortable facilities, including a garden, stalls, and a viewing tower at Bukit Pramuka.
- Zone B is a continuation of the work that has been carried out by the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing in Kampung Air which includes the arrangement of open spaces with the theme “Bajo Ladder”. Every corner of the space can be accessed by the public, including local communities, fishermen, and residents of coastal villages. Open stages are also built so that people and tourists can mingle and enjoy traditional art performances or other artistic attractions.
- Zone C is an arrangement of the wharves in the area around the Bajo Container Port which will be moved to the Wae Klambu area. The arrangement was carried out by expanding the public space further into the sea by building a sculpture and waiting room facilities, a management office, an information centre, and a festival plaza.
- Zone D is a commercial area called Marina Beach. which is managed by ASDP of the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN). In this zone, there will be a sidewalk with the same design along Jalan Soekarno Hatta Bawah.
- Zone E is a development of the culinary tourism area of ??Kampung Ujung which has been built by the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry. In this area, tourists can enjoy a variety of seafood next to the sea with tents that can be spots for selfies.