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PRESS RELEASE: The Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, Arief Yahya, welcomed the decision to keep Komodo Island National Park in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) to REMAIN OPEN for tourists from Indonesia and overseas.

Komodo Island Remain Open for Tourists

Based on the closed meeting on 30 September 2019, held at the office of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, led by Luhut Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, and attended by Siti Nurbaya, Minister of Environment and Forestry, Arief Yahya, Minister of Tourism, and Viktor B. Laiskodat, Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, the meeting agreed to keep Komodo Island open.

“We positively welcomed the decision on this matter. Furthermore, it was also agreed that there would not be any relocation of the people, but there will be a concurrent revitalization of the natural tourism”, stated by Minister Yahya and was delivered by Guntur Sakti, the Minister’s Expert Staff for Multicultural Affairs and the Acting Head of the Public Communication Agency of the Ministry of Tourism, in Jakarta on Saturday, 5 October 2019.

This matter needed to be readdressed as there are still several questions from several stakeholders, including from potential tourists and Visit Indonesia Tourism Officer/VITO) overseas.

The confirmation that Komodo Island National Park will remain open for tourism will certainly help tourism industry operators as well as international tour operators in promoting tourism packages to Indonesia, which may have been planned from the previous years.

Guntur Sakti highlighted that the decision from the meeting at the office of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, in principle are aligned with the result from the research team, which stated that Komodo Island does not need to be closed because there was no basis for closure from an ecological, social, and economic aspect.

Based on the result from the komodo population monitoring by the Komodo National Park Centre and Komodo Survival Program (KSP), it was found that over the past five years, the komodo population fluctuated in a relatively stable trend, between 2,400-3,000 Komodos.

The presence of tourists in the tourism area within the Komodo National Park is not a factor in the decrease of the komodo population.

From a management point of view, the national park should be managed based on Ecosystem Base Management. The people of the Komodo Village should be part of the island’s ecosystem, thus the management should be integrated management.

The development of Komodo National Park as an exclusive nature tourism area could be reached through the provision of infrastructure and tourism services based on international standards and supported by general facilities which are needed by tourists, such as accommodation, transportation, information, entertainment, banking, etc.

Thus, the management of Komodo Island National Park should be integrated with the development of Labuan Bajo Tourism Destination. This is in line with the opinions of Miller and Hamilton (1999) who viewed that the management of conservation areas should be integrated with a broader landscape. The Integrated Tourism Master Plan Labuan Bajo-Flores is currently being developed and is expected to be finalized by 2020.

Meanwhile, over the past five years, tourism arrivals to the national park experienced a significant increase. 80,626 tourist was recorded in 2014 and 95,401 tourists in 2015. In 2016, 107,711 tourists were recorded, in which 11.60% used cruise ships, in 2017 there were 125,069 tourists, in which 13.70% used cruise ships, and in 3018 there was 176,830 tourist, in which 9.17% used cruise ships. The recent data, in August 2019, 107 cruise tourists came to Komodo Island.

The increase of tourists has impacted the growth of the business sectors linked to tourism in Labuan Bajo, such as hotels, transportation, tour operators, etc. There are currently 84 hotels (47-star hotels, 17 low-cost hotels, 19 inns, and 1 hotel), culinary facilities in 72 locations ( 38 restaurants and 34 diners), sea transportation, such as motorboats (813 units). Meanwhile, there are 67 tourist guides, 120 souvenir sellers, and 60 komodo statue sculptors, which are part of the ecotourism in Komodo National Park.

Jakarta, 5 October 2019

Guntur Sakti
Acting Head of the Public Communication Bureau Ministry of Tourism of The Republic Indonesia

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