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Local Community Went On Strike And Closed Access To Labuan Bajo

strike Labuan Bajo
Local Community Went On Strike And Closed Access To Labuan Bajo. photo: Twitter/@yosnggarang

Tourism service providers and tourism businesses in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara have made a joint commitment to stop all types of tourism services for the next month.

The action is in response to the government’s decision to increase the entrance fee to Loh Liang Komodo Island and Padar Island to Rp 3.75 million, starting 1st August 2022.

The movement to stop tourism services in Labuan Bajo was carried out as a follow-up to the joint commitment signed by 24 tourism organisations in Labuan Bajo. The action is designed to resist the decision of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry together with the Provincial Government of East Nusa Tenggara regarding high tariffs for entering Komodo National Park.

“We have agreed to stop all types of tourism services in the National Park Islands and in all tourist destinations in West Manggarai from 1-31 August  2022,” said the Coordinator of Tourism Actors and Individual Tourism Actors of West Manggarai Regency, Rafael Taher, on Saturday 30th July 2022.

The tourism workers and businesses include tour boat owners, owners of land transportation service providers, restaurant owners, hotel owners, photographers, guides, and culinary business people.

According to Taher, who claims to represent all tourism actors in West Manggarai, he assessed that the presence of PT Flobamor, a Regionally-Owned Enterprise owned by the East Nusa Tenggara government, has monopolised the tourism sector in West Manggarai.

They considered this to be causing poverty for all tourism actors and the community in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai. Therefore, according to him, the joint commitment to stop all tourism service activities in West Manggarai Regency during August has been made without any coercion from any party.

Regarding tourists who have booked plane tickets or hotels in Labuan Bajo, he said, his party will not prohibit it. However, when they arrived in Labuan Bajo, he warned that there would be no vehicles to pick up at the airport and no hotels would accept guests.

We do not prohibit tourists from coming. But we apologise if they have arrived in Labuan Bajo because no transport will pick them up,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Head of the East Nusa Tenggara Tourism Office, Sony Zeth Libing, emphasised that the government will continue to apply an entrance ticket to Komodo and Padar islands of IDR 3.75 million, which is a central government policy. His team will continue to enforce the new prices despite the opposition. 

“The East Nusa Tenggara Provincial Government really appreciates the aspirations of the people who reject the increase in entrance tickets of Rp.3.75 million to Komodo Island and Padar Island. We are reviewing all these aspirations but of course, the application of new tariffs to Komodo will still be carried out on 1st August because it has gone through a study period,” he said.

According to him, the government has a grand vision behind the imposition of the new tariff, which is to keep Komodo and its ecosystem preserved forever. The Government of East Nusa Tenggara does not want the new tariffs to be applied when the ecosystem on Komodo Island is already starting to be damaged.

“We have to anticipate early before a wider problem occurs in the Komodo habitat and its ecosystem,” he concluded.

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