The number of tourists heading to Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara has been increasing yearly, with 2010 seeing a jump of about 9,000.
“In 2009, 36,000 people visited the park. In 2010, it was 45,000. These are numbers for West Manggarai regency, with Komodo National Park being the main destination,” West Manggarai Culture and Tourism Agency head Selasa Paulus said on Saturday in West Manggarai capital Labuan Bajo.
Administratively, Komodo Park is part of the regency, Paulus added.
He said most of visitors were foreigners due to the fact that reaching the park was too costly for domestic tourists.
Aji, the captain of a speed boat service to the park, said his prices were indeed high due to the high cost of fuel in Labuan Bajo.
“Many Indonesians say the price to charter a speed boat is too high. Well, it is better to travel in groups so the price will be lower,” Aji said as quoted by kompas.com.
Paulus said another problem was that what few flights did go to Labuan Bajo were often very expensive, however accommodation costs varied considerably and many places were affordable.
He said he wished the number of flights serving Labuan Bajo was increased to accommodate more tourists, but didn’t expect much of an increase, as Komodo National Park could only handle up to 60,000 tourists per year.
Source: The Jakarta Post