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Komodo development (1 Viewer)

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
So glad I did this twenty years ago, it's set to become a theme park for the wealthy.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-54701239

When I did it, I arrived in Labuanbajo, alone, and negotiated with a boat owner to take me to Komodo. I spent two day and an night aboard the small boat, sleeping on deck and eating what the Captains mate, cooked.

Even twenty years ago, there was a real sense of adventure, few tourists were seen and it remained cheap and accessible for those, willing to go a bit out of the way. Sailing through the Flores Sea, a boat, virtually to myself, thousands of Fruit Bats flying over at Dusk and retrurning at dawn as we sat at anchor off Rinca and course, the Dragons themselves plus a few birds, this trip remains one of my top, lifetime memories.

It cost me about £40 for the boat and park permits I think but like most eco tourism now, it's being carved up to become the exclusive domain of the privileged few.
 
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DMW

Well-known member
So glad I did this twenty years ago, it's set to become a theme park for the wealthy.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-54701239

When I did it, I arrived in Labuanbajo, alone, and negotiated with a boat owner to take me to Komodo. I spent two day and an night aboard the small boat, sleeping on deck and eating what the Captains mate, cooked.

Even twenty years ago, there was a real sense of adventure, few tourists were seen and it remained cheap and accessible for those, willing to go a bit out of the way. Sailing through the Flores Sea, a boat, virtually to myself, thousands of Fruit Bats flying over at Dusk and retrurning at dawn as we sat at anchor off Rinca and course, the Dragons themselves plus a few birds, this trip remains one of my top, lifetime memories.

It cost me about £40 for the boat and park permits I think but like most eco tourism now, it's being carved up to become the exclusive domain of the privileged few.

It was pretty much the same 3 or 4 years ago. The claim that tourists are affecting the dragons on Komodo doesn't fit the reality I witnessed, which is that most tourists hang around the HQ area, or go on one of a handful of walks with a ranger. That leaves a lot of Komodo free of tourists, and I didn't see any disturbance.

What was notable was a shiny new airport at Labuanbajo, more suited to Monaco than a small remote dump, private jets, and several billionaire style yachts moored off the smaller islands. No normal tourist is going to pay a grand to see something as underwhelming as a Komodo dragon. Seems like it might be designated to be an exclusive ultra rich person's playground. No doubt pockets are being lined somewhere in all of this.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
It was pretty much the same 3 or 4 years ago. The claim that tourists are affecting the dragons on Komodo doesn't fit the reality I witnessed, which is that most tourists hang around the HQ area, or go on one of a handful of walks with a ranger. That leaves a lot of Komodo free of tourists, and I didn't see any disturbance.

What was notable was a shiny new airport at Labuanbajo, more suited to Monaco than a small remote dump, private jets, and several billionaire style yachts moored off the smaller islands. No normal tourist is going to pay a grand to see something as underwhelming as a Komodo dragon. Seems like it might be designated to be an exclusive ultra rich person's playground. No doubt pockets are being lined somewhere in all of this.

There's also a brand new jetty for the huge cruise liners that now stop there. The issues are not just on the islands, they're also at sea with the obvious cost to the environment, brought by such huge ships.
 

DMW

Well-known member
There's also a brand new jetty for the huge cruise liners that now stop there. The issues are not just on the islands, they're also at sea with the obvious cost to the environment, brought by such huge ships.

That must presumably have been constructed after I visited. I didn't see any cruise liners, just local boats bringing small groups. Like you, I'm glad I visited before this nonsense. I actually enjoyed the boat ride out to Komodo more than the lizards. I was far more interested in seeing Yellow-crested Cockatoo!
 

jurek

Well-known member
I visited in 2019 because of alarming news coming from the government. I feel wise that I did.

First, they started charging tourists $1000 to enter Komodo national park. It is just the entry fee, not for any food, accomodation. Then they started building luxury development aimed at super-rich tourists, closing off normal tourists and making local people involved in tourism unemployed.

Besides putting me off visiting Indonesia, this made me seriously doubt whether it is worth supporting WWF and similar international 'conservation' organizations. Support the protection of some remote place, isn't it good and ethical? Then: as a tourist you get charged $1000 for nothing, and locals freely destroy the place anyway. No, thank you, I am not a cash cow and complete fool.

I think a backslash from travellers and tourist operators worldwide is needed, otherwise every national park worldwide will soon demand hundreds or thousands of dollars for nothing. And normal people will be priced out of contact with wildlife, which will become a domain of the rich 1%.

By the way, Komodo dragons and citron-crested cockatoos live on Flores, too. There was no interest in looking for them there before, now it becomes a necessity.
 
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YuShan

Well-known member
I saw the Komodo dragons on Rinca in 2009. Me and another backpacker just arranged a small boat with a local guy. We also went snorkelling on the way back. It was a wonderful day. There weren't huge crowds yet when I visited.

Eco-tourism is increasingly becoming a playground for the wealthy. Of course if they want to limit visitor numbers but still want to get the money coming in, this is what happens. However, it's a bit frustrating that the people who can afford it are not always the same people who are genuinely interested in it.
 

DMW

Well-known member
These sorts of schemes often seem to harm the smaller local businesses who cater for lower budget tourists. A few years ago, the regional government introduced a $100 permit to visit the Rajah Ampat Islands in West Papua. This was done without any local consultation, and the homestay owners were worried that it would put off the backpackers they catered to. The fee was allegedly intended to fund conservation projects, but locals claimed that they hadn't seen anything of the sort and that it was going straight into the pockets of local officials.
 

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