Indonesia to charge tourists A$1400 to visit Komodo Island


Komodo Island is home to the famed and fearsome Komodo dragon. REUTERS
Komodo Island is home to the famed and fearsome Komodo dragon. REUTERS
If you want to witness Indonesia's mighty Komodo dragons in the wild without seriously breaking the bank, you will need to get in quick.

Indonesia plans to start charging tourists the equivalent of A$1400 to visit its famed Komodo Island.

The remote island is home to the Komodo dragon, and has seen a huge tourist boom in recent years.

Currently, tourists pay around A$14 to visit the island and its star attractions.

However, the Indonesian government says the growth in visitor numbers has taken an ecological toll on the island’s fragile dragon population.

It was previously suggested that Komodo Island would be closed to visitors entirely.

Local governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat said closing the island was necessary to prevent interference with the dragons’ mating and hatching cycles.

However the ministry of environment announced this week that the island would remain open, but that an “exclusive” membership scheme would be put in place.

“People will have to become members and pay $1,000 [A$1000] to enter for a year,” said the region’s governor Laiskodat to the BBC, adding, “I think that’s cheap”.

The extra funds will allow conservation efforts to be boosted, and the 2,000 residents of Komodo – who would have been relocated for the past year – will be allowed to stay.

Laiskodat’s spokesman Marius Jelamu told the BBC that “the growth of the community on the island will be restricted so that the village does not become too big and threaten conservation efforts,” he said.

“There will also be more education programs in the village to make sure the community are fully part of the conservation effort.”

Komodo dragons are the largest lizards in the world, reaching up to three metres in length.

One of the planet’s most fearsome beasts, they have razor-sharp teeth and a venomous bite.

Around 1,700 live on Komodo Island, with a further 1,000 located on the island of Rinca.

The Komodo National Park is a Unesco World Heritage Site.



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