The government is continuing with plans to impose an entrance fee of Rp3.75 million for tourists who come to Komodo Island in Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara, effective from 1st January 2023.
“There is no effect on a letter from the Environment and Forestry Minister asking the East Nusa Tenggara Government to review a number of articles in the East Nusa Tenggara Governor’s regulation regarding the management of the Komodo National Park area,” said the Head of the Tourism Office of East Nusa Tenggara Province, Zeth Sony Libing, in Kupang on Friday 18th November 2022.
According to Libing, the letter also has no order from the Minister to cancel the application of the tariff. Thus, the new tariff for entry to the Komodo dragon habitat will remain in effect.
The letter sent by the Minister relates to a memorandum of understanding between the Director General of Conservation of Natural Resources Ecosystems of the Environment and Forestry Ministry and the East Nusa Tenggara Government regarding cooperation in strengthening the function of conservation areas and conserving biological natural resources and their ecosystems in a sustainable manner in Komodo National Park.
It also referred to a cooperation agreement between the Komodo National Park Office and PT Flobamor which is in regard to the East Nusa Tenggara Governor’s regulation number 85 of 2022. The governor’s regulation contains directions for conservation in Komodo National Park.
Upon request, several articles in the governor’s regulation will soon be reviewed and revised.
“The letter from the Environment and Forestry Minister only asked for a revision of a number of articles in the regulation,” he added.
Regarding the review requested, it relates to one of the articles in the governor’s regulation, namely article 9, which states that tourists who have not contributed are not allowed to make tourist visits to Komodo and Padar Islands and the surrounding waters with an area of 712.12 hectares.
According to the Environment and Forestry Ministry, this article is considered contrary to the laws and regulations because the public or tourists have the freedom to use or access the area as long as they have paid for a valid PNBP ticket in accordance with government regulation number 12 of 2014.
The plan to increase the entrance fee to Komodo Island and the surrounding area has been met with protests from local residents who depend on the tourism sector for their lives. The soaring ticket price from Rp50,000 to Rp3.75 million is expected to reduce the interest of tourists to visit so it will also affect their income.
“Especially the women, they strongly objected. Yesterday’s conditions in our village were rumbling and heated,” said Ramang Fatahullah, a souvenir trader on Komodo Island.
The government has said that the tariff increase is intended to sustain conservation efforts. Last July, the Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno explained that the determination of the tariff figure was the total conservation cost in the form of the value of ecosystem services for one year.
This figure was obtained from the study of experts. The value of ecosystem services in question is natural resources that support the survival of living things, such as water, oxygen, and food sources, and includes the management of waste generated by tourists.
The ticket fee charged to tourists is also included with the provision of souvenirs made by the community around Komodo Island.
“This policy will be able to attract more tourists who appreciate conservation efforts and participate in building other destinations in East Nusa Tenggara as leading tourist destinations,” said Uno.