THE Provincial Government of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) has lauded the central government’s policy on concurrent management of the Komodo National Park (TNK) in West Manggarai District.

“This is a positive step and a support from the central government to the NTT tourism management,” Wayan Darmawa, Head of the NTT Tourism and Creative Economy Office said in a statement.

He added that the new policy will allow the NTT provincial government, the West Manggarai district administration and the central government to jointly manage the national park. The policy is a privilege as no other provinces have ever been given authorities to manage a national park concurrently with the central government.

Wayan Darmawa explained that following the concurrent management policy, the NTT provincial government represented by PT Flobamor has collaborated with international companies to promote the Komodo National Park, which has been set as one of the country’s 10 super priority tourist destinations.

“We certainly laud this policy and we hope that our involvement in the park management can benefit the region,” he said.

The Komodo National Park spans 137 thousand hectares, of which 60% constitutes waters. The park has 147 islands, including five major islands: Gili Motang Island, Padar Island, Nusa Kode Island, Komodo Island, and Rinca Island.

The park is home to 2,800 Komodo dragons (Veranus Komodoensis), including 1,040 heads on Rica Island, while the rest live on Komodo Island, Giling Motang Island, and other smaller islands.

In 1977, the Komodo National Park was named a biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and in 1991, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2012, it was listed as the New 7 Wonders of Nature sites.

The park management recorded revenue amounting to IDR32 billion from tourist visits to the park during 2018, an increase from IDR29 billion in the previous year.

A total of 176,830 tourists, comprising 121,409 foreigners and 55,421 Indonesians, had visited the park in 2018, a surge from 119,599 visitors in 2017, and a drastic increase from 80 thousand tourists in 2014. [antaranews/photo special]