Indonesian government wants to charge tourists $1,000 to access islands with Komodo dragons: Report

USO/iStock(KOMODO, Indonesia) — The Indonesian government is aiming to charge tourists a $1,000 fee to access the islands native to the Komodo dragon.

President Joko Widodo is in talks with authorities in Labuan Bajo, the fishing town that serves as the gateway to the five islands native to the Komodo dragon, to introduce the extravagant fee, Indonesian national newspaper Kompas reported.

Widodo wants to limit access to the islands, which include Komodo, Flores, Rinca, Gili Motang and Nusa Kode, to “super premium” tourists and has instructed the country’s minster of tourism to establish a quota of how many people can enter Labuan Bajo annually, he said while opening the Kompas 100 CEO Forum at The Ritz Carlton in Kuningan, South Jakarta, according to the national newspaper.

Currently, it costs foreign tourists about $10 to see the reptiles, The U.K. Times reported.

Widodo said he prefers that the tourists with “deep pockets” not mix with “middle-to-lower income tourists.”

Earlier this year, the Indonesian government considered banning tourists from Komodo island for one year due to conservation efforts from people smuggling the lizards out.

The ban was canceled in October, when the country’s environment ministry announced that the species on the island was not under threat, The Guardian reported.

Komodo dragons are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

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