With IDR3.75 million, visitors will be able to enter Komodo National Park’s 2 main islands all year long

The Komodo National Park is home to around 2,800 Komodo dragons, according to official data from 2018. Photo: Unsplash
The Komodo National Park is home to around 2,800 Komodo dragons, according to official data from 2018. Photo: Unsplash

Question: Would you pay IDR3.75 million (US$250) to visit Komodo National Park’s two main islands, Komodo and Padar, as many times as you want in a year? 

If your answer is yes, then this is probably good news for you as the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) provincial government is set to go ahead with their plans to charge people annually for visiting the two sites where Komodo dragons roam the earth. 

NTT’s tourism chief Sony Zeth Libing told reporters yesterday that the provincial government had requested the central government so they could implement the annual fee in order to maintain the sites’ ecosystem. 

“The NTT provincial government believes that Komodo [dragons] and [the islands’] ecosystems are the people’s heritage,” he said, explaining the reasoning behind the new pricing. 

The new pricing scheme is set to come into effect on Aug. 1.

Komodo Island and Padar Island are the two biggest islands of Komodo National Park. Another island famous for its dragons in the Park is Rinca Island. The park also includes 26 smaller islands.

Separately, Carolina Noge, Komodo National Park program coordinator, said that the number of annual visitors would be limited to 200,000. She reiterated that pass holders will not be subject to any additional fees for any subsequent trips to the islands.

Carolina noted that the IDR3.75 million is officially not an entrance fee, but a contribution to the conservation of Komodo and Padar islands and the surrounding areas.

Discussions on the harmful impact of massive tourism visits to Komodo National Park have been going on for years. The idea of implementing an annual fee for a visit to Komodo National Park was actually introduced in 2019. At the time, the proposed annual entrance fee was US$1,000.

The 2019 proposed price was reportedly for foreign visitors only, while it remains unclear as to whether the IDR3.75 million annual fee is to be applied to foreigners or domestic visitors or both.

The Park is a UNESCO world heritage site, and currently charges a fee of IDR150,000 (US$10.68) for foreign tourists and IDR5,000 (US$0.36) for domestic tourists on weekdays, though there are notably additional fees tourists may incur during their trip, including for trekking or snorkeling.

At least 13 tourism agencies have spoken up about the new pricing plan, and, to say the least, they were not for it.

Robert Waka, the deputy chief of the NTT chapter of the Indonesian Travel Agents Association, said over the weekend that they felt the new price would only cater to the middle-upper class and thus they hoped the government could reassess the plan.

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