TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya openly regrets the talks on the temporary closure of the Komodo National Park which presented a blow toward the tourism industry and has led tourists astray.
The minister claims the plans that were announced regarding the closure caused travel agents to avert from selling cruise ship vacations to the national park that is home to the endangered Komodo Dragons.
“If it’s considered closed, it’s not actually closed, but then it is set to be closed off from tourists again, the customers are confused by this. A cruise ship’s visit can bring-in thousands of international tourists,” said Arief in Jakarta on Monday.
Arief argues that the international tourists that visit the national park often arrive on cruise ships that are booked one year prior to the trip. He maintains that the discussion upon closing the national park should have been among stakeholders in a closed environment and should not have been leaked to the public.
However, despite its economic setbacks, the ministry’s head of communication bureau Guntur Sakti added that the tourism industry is able to fathom the environmental reasons behind the closure.
“Because Komodo is a tourist attraction but Komodo also needs to be preserved as a species. Both are great policies but we still need certainty,” said Guntur.