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Komodo price hike protest (2 Viewers)

Welsh Peregrine

Well-known member
This has been posted on before but I can't be bothered to search out the thread. Glad I did this over twenty years ago when ordinary people could afford such adventures.

As for the link, I love the quote about the lizard’s population by “conversationalists”!
 

Jos Stratford

Eastern Exile
Europe
It has been slightly moderated since the earlier thread - initial proposal was to require potential visitors to purchase a 1000 US 'membership' or something similar, I believe hypothetically giving up to a year of visits (not that most visitors would have any need for such), but now it is 250 US or similar.
 

DMW

Well-known member
It's difficult not to be cynical and see this as a ham-fisted money grab by senior officials in the region. Komodo isn't a tiny island and from what I've seen, tourists are restricted to a few short trails and must be accompanied by a park guide. A few dragons typically hang around the park centre by the dock, so you don't even have to walk the trails. Unless something has changed since I visited a few years ago, I can't see disturbance being an issue.
I wonder if this will be extended to Rinca, which will otherwise probably become the default island to see these lizards.
 

jurek

Well-known member
now it is 250 US or similar.

Still it is outrageously high! The price is simply for entering the park. No services. National parks in Europe or USA are free or several times cheaper, despite higher costs, more infrastructure and bigger tourist visitation.

I visited Komodo 3 years ago, when I first heard such measures are considered. So I will not pay this money anyway. Yet I still feel it is wrong and support such protests. Especially, that authorities of Bhutan, too, now demanded that any future foreign tourist must pay $200 per day simply to be in Bhutan.

Why bother? Because:
  • Because extremely high prices for nothing are huge incentive for corruption, as DMW pointed. They are not necessary for good protection.
  • Because tourism is one of best ways to reduce international tensions and bring peace. If an American student visits Komodo, the American will be forever friendly to Indonesia because of memories, and Indonesians would be friendly to America because otherwise they would not come.
  • Because expensive tourism diverts money to few big companies and high officials, but low-cost tourism supports large number of local people and small businesses: eateries, small hotels, boat owners etc. Which livehoods are threatened now and this is the reason of this protest in Komodo.
  • Because I don't like the trend that most people are denied more and more, but except the rich, and the method is introducing high costs.
I suggest such actions:
  • Travel agencies and guidebooks should stop advertising or promoting Komodo or Bhutan. Few years ago, a large Western organization said that Komodo is one of new seven wonders of the world, and no doubt, helped precipitating improbable fleecing of tourists.
  • Stop supporting conservation and politicians who explicitly or implicitly support the view that rich tourists are better than the unwashed majority of society. It includes a high-profile bird conservancy, which happily babbled online on their plans to protect cockatoos on Komodo in collaboration with local authorities.
  • On the internet, shame tourists who post pictures from Komodo or Bhutan. It is not OK to boast that you have money to go where most people cannot. The danger of tourist money drying up is a good way to pressure local authorities who, at the end, depend of the goodwill of foreign tourists to choose their region.
  • Pressure Western governments to retaliate by raising cost of visas for Indonesians and Bhutanese. Monetary, this would not be important, but a stigma counts. Otherwise, we could see an avalanche of countries and regions introducing high prices just because they can, and wilting of international travel.
And, by the way, it is perfectly possible to see wild Komodo dragons, sulphur-crested cockatoos and marine life on Flores, avoiding a visit to Komodo national park at all.
 
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Jim M.

Choose Civility
It's difficult not to be cynical and see this as a ham-fisted money grab by senior officials in the region.
The article says the original idea was to ban tourists completely to protect the habitat, and the entrance fee hike was proposed as a less extreme measure. If that is true, generating revenue would not seem to be the primary motivation.
 

Jos Stratford

Eastern Exile
Europe
Still it is outrageously high!
I don't disagree, was just mentioning that it is already a watered down proposal, perhaps the protests will result in further changes.

But don't agree with most of your proposals suggesting we should shame tourists who do go where some don't have money to go, that we should hike visa prices for Indonesians etc :)
 

Jos Stratford

Eastern Exile
Europe
  • On the internet, shame tourists who post pictures from Komodo or Bhutan. It is not OK to boast that you have money to go where most people cannot.
Not logical. On this basis, should troll and shame every person who posts photos from virtually anywhere that required them to travel beyond their home country. Being an international tourist, you are automatically doing something that many of the world's population cannot do.

Whilst I agree with the sentiment that this entry fee is absurdly high, the reality is that simply being a European or American and flying to Indonesia, even if the Komodo fee were zero, means you have the money to do something most people can't do.
 

DMW

Well-known member
The article says the original idea was to ban tourists completely to protect the habitat, and the entrance fee hike was proposed as a less extreme measure. If that is true, generating revenue would not seem to be the primary motivation.
Well, you can say anything. Komodo is a hilly island and as far as I know, access was always restricted to a small area by both the limited number of trails and the topography. A similar 1 year permit was introduced for the Raja Ampat Islands which was supposed to be to fund conservation work, but locals said it just went into the pockets of officials.
 

DMW

Well-known member
Especially, that authorities of Bhutan, too, now demanded that any future foreign tourist must pay $200 per day simply to be in Bhutan.
Bhutan has had this system in place for as long as I can remember, and it is a different proposition. You don't pay a permit fee to visit Bhutan, you have to book a tour with a local operator with a minimum daily cost of $200 ($250 in the high season). This is the cost of the tour package, so includes hotel, meals, transport, guides etc. The idea very much was to limit the number of tourists to avoid a Nepal-type situation of large numbers of backpackers.
 

edenwatcher

Well-known member
Bhutan has had this system in place for as long as I can remember, and it is a different proposition. You don't pay a permit fee to visit Bhutan, you have to book a tour with a local operator with a minimum daily cost of $200 ($250 in the high season). This is the cost of the tour package, so includes hotel, meals, transport, guides etc. The idea very much was to limit the number of tourists to avoid a Nepal-type situation of large numbers of backpackers.
This has just changed. Services will now be on top.

Rob
 

YuShan

hikingbirdman.com
United Kingdom
I have seen the dragons in 2009 on Rinca, which is the other main island where they live. It's not clear to me if the price hike also applies there.

It was pretty cheap then. Together with another backpacker we negotiated the price for a boatman with a rickety wooden boat to bring us there. I guess this guy has lost his income now. On the Island, you got hooked up with a group (ca 15 people) + guide.

Komodovaraan3.JPG

Komodovaraan1.JPG

I wasn't (yet) into birding at the time, and Indonesia is probably going to be my next international destination again. Perhaps next year. But I won't be visiting the dragons again with these prices.
 

jurek

Well-known member
Not logical

To the contrast, the only way to go. When tourists behave like a disorganized flock of sheep, then every bureaucrat jumps at the opportunity to introduce a skyrocketing 'permit'. On which the bureaucrat can only win, cannot lose. He gets money out of nothing, also when local people suffer and the total number of tourists plunges. If tourists fight back, the bureaucrat will stop, because he (or his superiors) might not like bad publicity, and the money is uncertain.

I visited Komodo 3 years ago. It is a large island where the 'tourist infrastructure' consists of one pier, 2-3 buildings and few dirt paths covering a small part of the island. There are mostly boat tours coming for a day visit, and the main interest is snorkelling for 1-3 days. All is done by hired local boats, which benefit local people. It is one of the places least suffering from the mass foreign tourism I know of. However, I saw the advertisements of an upcoming luxury development, apparently aimed at rich Indonesian people wanting a second house.

The Komodo dragon occurs also in parts of Flores, despite its name. It was easy to see because five huge individuals were sleeping in the shade of the cantina building, which fish leftovers were probably be the best food source on the islands. But I would hardly call it a must-see animal for a normal tourist.
 
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