Komodo Island in Indonesia, famed for its magnificent, eponymous lizards, will not be closed to tourists starting 2020. Contrary to July reports of a year-long maintenance-driven closure of the park, the island, home to around 1,700 of the world’s largest living lizard species—with the nearby island of Rinca housing a thousand more—will instead be accessible at the premium annual membership scheme of $1,000 (Rs71,000).
While finer details are yet to be specified, the scheme, levied to limit visitors and sustain Komodo population, might work in conjunction with a separate non-premium option of visiting the other islands of the national park, where one can see the lizards. The reversal is likely a response to the Ministry of Environment concluding that the dragon population on the island has been stable since 2019, with no signs of imminent decline.
The numbers of people visiting Komodo Island soared from 44,000 in 2008 to 1,76,000 in 2018. Currently, tourists can visit the island, part of the Komodo National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—for all of $10 (Rs710).