It’s one of Indonesia’s most famous islands, home to more than 2000 Komodo dragons and attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year.
But after initially announcing the closure of the island to tourists from 2020, the Government has decided to backflip and instead implement a new plan to keep visitors — and their money — rolling in to the region.
In July, the announcement was made to close the island to visitors in a bid to protect the reptiles who call “Dragon Island” home. With tourists required to pay just $10 to enter the island, the financial damage wasn’t a huge concern for a 12-month closure.
But after careful consideration, the Government has now introduced a membership scheme instead of a visitor ban.
But be prepared to pay.
Currently, tourists pay around $10 to enter the island.Source:istock
At a cost of $1000 per person, the new membership system will increase conservation efforts to protect the dragons, according to the ministry of environment.
But the change of tact has left critics a little confused about the motive behind the change.
According to The Guardian, in 2018 Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat, governor of East Nusa Tenggara, proposed targeting high-end customers with a $US500 entry fee.
“Only people with deep pockets are allowed to (see Komodo dragons),” he said. “Those who don’t have the money shouldn’t visit the park since it specifically caters to extraordinary people.”
According to state news agency Antara, there will be two membership levels. Premium members will be allowed to visit Komodo island, while non-premium members will be able to visit other islands in the Komodo national park, where dragons also live.
Much is still being learned about the ancient lizard on the island.Source:istock
“The growth of the community on the island will be restricted so that the village does not become too big and threaten conservation efforts,” Marius Jelamu, spokesman for Mr Laiskodat, told the BBC.
“There will also be more education programs in the village to make sure the community are fully part of the conservation effort.”
The Komodo dragon, which can grow up to three metres long, has long called the island home. The reptiles kill their prey by biting it and infecting it with venomous saliva before letting the animal bleed to death.
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