Published on Tuesday, October 1, 2019
It looks like the dragons of Komodo Island will continue welcoming wide-eyed tourists.
There have been months of speculation about a possible one-year closure of the island but now the government has pledged to keep it open.
"Komodo Island will not be closed. We will rearrange the island, in collaboration with the local government and related institutions," said coordinating maritime affairs minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.
However, there will be a strict carrying capacity and restrictions on numbers, with a new ticketing system rolling out.
The decision was made after discussions with various ministries, environmental and local agencies.
Contrary to reports of a dwindling dragon population due to tourism, the numbers are relaitively stable.
Government data says there are 1,727 Komodo dragons on the island.
Dragons are also found on a handful of neighbouring islands including Rinca.
Central government funds of about US$7 million will be spent on rehabilitation of Komodo Island which will include the construction of a Komodo Research Center.
Although it will stay open, Komodo Island could still become the preserve of tourists with deep pockets only.
There has been a suggestion it will become a 'premium' daytrip destination with sky-high prices to match.