The Komodo Island (also known as Dragon Island) in Indonesia is among just over 17,500 islands that make up the Republic of Indonesia. Authorities recently announced that the island won’t be restricted to tourists in 2020, instead a $1,000 membership plan will be established.
This negates the decision made in July that would have seen the island closed to outsiders at the start of next year to better protect the komodo dragons and their environment. Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat expressed that Dragon Island needed to be restricted from tourists so that they wouldn’t disturb the lizards’ mating and hatching activities.
At the moment, visitors are charged roughly $10 to gain access to the island. In the 10 years from 2008 to 2018, the number of tourists entering Komodo rose by around 300 percent.
“People will have to become members and pay $1,000 to enter for a year,” said Laiskodat. “I think that’s cheap.”
What about the residents?
More focus on improving conservation endeavours can be expected and the 2,000 or so inhabitants of Komodo will now be allowed to remain on the island instead of being forced to relocate.
According to Indonesian news organization, Antara, there are going to be two membership options: if you’re wanting to visit Komodo Island itself, you’ll need to become a premium member, as non-premium members will only have access to other islands within the Komodo national park (A Unesco World Heritage site), where the massive komodo dragons can still be found.
A spokesperson for Governor Laiskodat, Marius Jelamu, says that the specifics are still being finalized.
“The growth of the community on the island will be restricted so that the village does not become too big and threaten conservation efforts,” said Jelamu. “There will also be more education programs in the village to make sure the community are fully part of the conservation effort.”