Another iconic destination in Southeast Asia will close to the public in 2020 to help its environment recovery. Komodo Island and its famed dragons will have one year rest before reopening in 2021.
East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Tourism Agency head Wayan Darmawa announced on Thursday that Komodo Island is to close by the beginning of 2020.
“It is definite: we have decided to close Komodo Island next year,” Wayan said, as reported by Antara news agency.
The closure is intended for the environmental rehabilitation of the island and to improve the conservation efforts for the Komodo dragons .
Wayan said the decision was made by the NTT administration and the Environment and Forestry Ministry on Wednesday, adding that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has agreed to the matter.
On his visit to Labuan Bajo on July 10 and 11, Jokowi said there should be a visitor limit on the island considering it was a conservation area. He suggested nearby Rinca Island as an alternative for visitors wishing to see Komodo dragons. The island is also a natural habitat of the dragon and is included in the Komodo National Park.
NTT Governor Viktor B Laiskodat said the administration would provide a budget of Rp 100 billion (US$7.17 million) for the island’s rehabilitation. the plan was met with a protest from residents in West Manggarai regency in front of the regency office, regional council office and the Komodo National Park Agency.
Komodo Island follows the example set by Boracay in the Philippines and Maya Bay in Thailand.The first one was closed last year for over six months while Maya Bay is due to remain closed for a few years.