Hamdan C Ismail, Eka Yudha Saputra, Moh Khory Alfarizi, Jakarta – The Labuan Bajo association of the local tourism industry claims that West Manggarai tourism is being monopolized by the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) regionally-owned enterprise PT Flobamor. The company has been appointed by the local government to oversee the operations of the region's globally popular islands of Komodo and Padar.
The name of this enterprise emerged in public discourse after it significantly increased the entry fee to the Komodo National Park to the level of Rp3.75 million per entry. On its official website, PT Flobamor's main business legally oversees transportation and ferriage services and runs three ferry vessels that connect numerous routes connecting Kupang and Ende, Kupang – Rote,, Kupang – Lewoleba, and the NTT Province and Maluku.
Other fields of business run by this regionally-owned enterprise include cattle trade; rice and corn; asphalt, road pavement additives (Soil Additive); as well as other potential business opportunities that have an impact on the economy of the general society.
Flobamor's total finances have a total capital of Rp 19,426,813,000. Of the total capital, 99.9 percent of the shares are held by the NTT Provincial Government, and 0.1 percent or worth Rp. 20 million owned by the Praja Mukti Cooperative. The company is led by the main commissioner Samuel Haning, and commissioner Hadi A. Djawas, president-director Agustinus Z. Bokotei.
Komodo Island's steep entry fee decision
This controversial move by the government has been widely protested by local individually-run and small businesses as it is feared that the steep entry fee into Komodo Island will greatly reduce their source of livelihood.
Previously reported, Komodo Island's entry of Rp3.75 million was announced by Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno, which the government argues will be used to fund the conservation efforts for the tourist site and has been made effective on August 1.
Sandiaga claimed that the decision-making regarding the expensive entry fee had involved a number of policymakers such as the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), the Komodo National Park Office, and the NTT Provincial Government. This is also in line with the government's focus on developing quality and sustainable tourism to provide economic benefits as well as environmental conservation.
In the case of conservationism, the government will also limit tourist visits to Komodo Island and Padar Island to a maximum of 200,000 people per year. This will slash nearly half of tourist visitations as the island attracts around 300-400 thousand people per year on average.
According to a government representative, the Komodo Island entry fee has gone through a process of assessing the carrying capacity and capacity of ecosystem services based on ecosystem services. One of the recommendations of the study is to apply conservation costs along with restrictions.