JAKARTA, 14 June 2019: No decision has been made on a proposal to close the UNESCO World Heritage site Komodo Island to tourism, says Asian Trails in its latest post to travel trade partners.
The inbound tour operator that has offices across Southeast Asia said media reports had focused on the closure of Komodo Island possibly in 2020.
“Currently plans are very much in the discussion stage and no decision has been made as to whether this will actually come into effect,” Asian Trails explained.
“Discussions are ongoing and a decision is likely to be made towards the end of this year or beginning of next year.”
The travel company stressed that if the authorities did close Komodo Island, the rest of the national park would remain open to tourists.
Komodo Island is one of two islands where Komodo Dragons can be found the other being Rinca Island.
Rinca Island is the smaller of the two and sightings of Komodo dragons, as well as other wildlife, are more common here than when visiting Komodo.
Asian Trails points out in his dispatch that trekking options on Rinca offer more varied routes.
“There is no cause for any concern and Flores/Komodo will continue to offer the same amazing experience, even if the decision is made to close Komodo Island.”
According to Wikipedia, “Komodo National Park is located within the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia’s border region between the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara.
The park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Padar and Rinca, and 26 smaller ones with a total area of 1,733 km2 (603 km2 of it land). The national park was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard. Later it was dedicated to protecting other species, including marine species. In 1991 the national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
Indonesian authorities may take a cue from Thailand, which took the bold step of closing Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island in order to support a recovery programme. Blighted by over tourism, mainly day-trippers from nearby Phuket island, the bay made a miraculous recovery following the closure. Coral reefs grew back and marine life returning to their former habitat. Thailand has extended the ban on visits to Maya Bay for at least another year despite calls by local enterprises to allow the day-trippers back.