TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya assessed that the closing plan of Komodo National Park should be reviewed in a bid to prevent a negative impact toward the local economy.
“Komodo National Park is a tourist destination where a lot of entrepreneurs; from Tourism Ministry and others, run tourism business there,” said Siti Nurbaya at Presidential Palace complex, Jakarta, Thursday, January 24.
Minister Siti explained that the ministry is currently collecting information and numbers of issues happening at the park to then summon the East Nusa Tenggara administration to seek a way out of the plan. She pinned hope the park's shut down could be carried out without affecting the community economy.
She further stressed that the shut down is on the hand of the central government. Thus, local administration must consult the matter in advance and should act within its authority under Director-General of Conservation.
Komodo National Park is one of the five oldest Indonesian parks that span a total of 173,300 hectares. The park attracted foreign tourist arrivals to the country.
Based on the ministry data, the number of tourist visit to Komodo National Park gradually increased. Throughout 2018, the figure reached 159,217 visitors, while in 2017 at 125,069 visitors, 2016 107,711 visitors, 2015 95,410 visitors, and 2014 at 80,626 visitors.
The increasing tourist arrival has significantly affected the local economy, especially in West Manggarai District and its vicinity, livelihoods of the people such as tour operator that operates 157 tourist boats and 94 local guides, as well as 1,136 hotel rooms.
The closing, the minister added, will also harm the livelihood of 4,556 people across the region; 1,725 people in Komodo Village; Papagaran Village (1,252 people), and Pasir Panjang (1,579 people) that most of them work in the tourism sector.
The state income from Komodo National Park also increases over the years, amounted to Rp5.4 billion in 2014, Rp19.20 billion in 2015, Rp22.80 billion in 2016, Rp29.10 billion in 2017, and reaches Rp33.16 billion in 2018.