One of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia, the Komodo Island is set for closure in 2020. According to a news agency, the year long shutdown has been necessitated due to environmental reasons. Mr. Wayan Darmawa, the head of NTT Tourism Office has stated that the closure would help them improve and preserve the island’s ecological situation at an estimated cost of 100 billion rupiah (US $7.1 million.)
The island is part of the larger Komodo National Park having three major islands viz., Komodo, Rinca, and Padar, and 26 minor ones. To ensure that visitors are not deprived of watching the popular Komodo dragon, the world’s only surviving giant lizard, the administration has allowed them to visit the neighbouring Rinca island. The decision to close the island was taken after the Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited it for two days, July 11 and 12. However, the residents of Komodo Island are protesting their evacuation.
The NTT administration earns a major chunk of its revenue from the Komodo island circuit. According to the news agency, the National Park received a total revenue of 32 billion rupiah (US$ 2.3 million) with around 176,830 visitors to the park. Interestingly, Komodo National Park was designated as a biosphere reserve and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1977 and 1991 respectively.