Remembering Komodo Island, Thinking Ecotourism
by Rajiv Louis
Indonesia has such a beautiful natural ecology, many part of which you just can’t find in any other nation. I myself have long been in love with Indonesia’s many ecotourism objects. Among these spots I’ve been to Pangkalan Bun, on the island of Borneo/Kalimantan, seeing the Orangutan conservation efforts. I’ve also climbed Gunung Agung in Bali, the hiking trip was breathtaking. I’ve also visited Komodo Island.
Unfortunately with my busy schedule for the past couple of decades of my career in Indonesia, I’ve been so busy that I simply can’t visit that many places. Indonesia is an archipelago of many islands, each of the many wonderful travel spots are more often than not placed quite far from each other and require time and effort to reach. Traveling to the most beautiful spots are not for the faint of heart. Still I continue to love so much to explore all of Indonesia’s beauty at all her islands.
So obviously looking at it from an ecotourism point of view Indonesia has many untapped potential, and even Komodo Island can still be improved even further. A few years ago Komodo Island was nominated to be one of The New Seven Wonders of Nature. The Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is at home in Komodo Island, and they can be seen on three islands in the island-group: at Rica island, Padar island, and Komodo island. The Komodo Dragon is a beauty unique to this island and nation, an ancient reptile species that we can still see in the flesh today.
Komodo Island has long captured international attention, from back in colonial times and all through to today. The Indonesian Govenment had started a Sail Indonesia program from 2009, and in 2013 the theme has been Sail Komodo. In addition the government has also prioritized Komodo Island as a priority for tourism development.
Back when I first visited Komodo Island a few years ago I was so impressed by the dragons, living in their natural habitat. They are an attraction unto themselves, the Komodo, very much a strong ecotourism potential, but other than that I also went diving in the island and let me tell you, the underwater beauty in the island is just as breathtaking as well.
Indonesia is very much an ecotourism attraction for the World, there are so many natural beauties in flora and fauna, forests and wildlife. International tourists are becoming bored of well-known destinations, it is the unique and hidden destinations that are now becoming trendy to visit. Travelers want to connect with nature, the environment, and the local people.
Komodo Island continues to develop as an ecotourism destination, and I think this calls for more attention to be paid to the Island’s local economy. I’m of course delighted with the increased number of tourists visiting, because if managed properly this is a source of economic development for the locals; for one we can spur development of a souvenirs small-business industry there, among other ideas. We should keep in our minds how ecotourism would benefit the local populace as well as benefit Komodo Dragon conservation efforts.