21 Oct The Latest Tourism Infrastructure Development in 2021, What Will Happen to NTT Surrounding Ecosystems?
Thursday, October 14, 2021, environmental activists in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara conveyed their aspirations to President Joko Widodo regarding tourism development in Labuan Bajo. The issue of infrastructure development to increase tourists in the area is also widely discussed on social media such as Instagram. Various Instagram users who already have millions of followers also participated in responding to this issue. The underlying problem is that the development of super premium tourism developed by the government in Komodo National Park is considered to ignore the existence of the area as a natural sanctuary for animals, especially Komodo dragons and the living space of local residents.
Not only that, the massive development that took place on the island of Flores has also changed the function of land in the Bowosie Forest, which is at the top of Labuan Bajo. This article will provide a discussion of development in Flores, NTT with various perspectives from related parties.
Development of tourism infrastructure in Florest
Flores will be developed into a premium tourist destination with a geopark concept approach or an integrated area. The main objective of the government is to promote the potential that exists in the Flores area and to improve the economic welfare of the people living in the surrounding area. Various developments planned include electricity, water, Marina Ports, roads, airports and rest areas as well as souvenir shops.
Komodo Island will be arranged into a world-class tourist island that will have a good impact on investment. The government has issued regulations as a guide for private companies to develop a nature tourist attractions business in the Komodo National Park. Furthermore, the government has shared the management authority with other parties that opened up space for the privatization of management on Komodo Island.
This development includes the creation of trekking areas for pedestrians and visitor shelters designed to float so as not to interfere with Komodo traffic. The government also regulates the change in status and utilization of 400 hectares of Bowosie/Nggorang forest. The forest area will be converted into a Labuan Bajo tourism area with a scheme to eliminate forest status from being a non-forest area and a business permit scheme for the use of natural tourism environmental services.
The community’s response
The community represented by environmental activists in the area did not agree with the development in several strategic places in Flores, NTT. Because the development of strategic national tourism areas will make Komodo dragons more vulnerable to the climate crisis. Komodo is the largest lizard species in the world that still survives to this day with natural care and protection. Human intervention can cause the Komodo dragon’s natural habitat to be disturbed
Previously, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had warned to temporarily stop all infrastructure projects around Komdo National Park. The dismissal is because the projects carried out by Indonesia will have the potential to have an impact on the outstanding universal value. This will be a consideration for the government to adjust the concept of development with the established rules. So that the Komodo dragon habitat and the surrounding ecosystem are not damaged or disturbed
Another issue that has become the focus of development in this area is the conversion of forest functions in the Bowsie Forest. Forest conversion will have an impact on flooding and threaten the loss of springs. In this forest area there are more than 10 springs that are used by people in various regions. The identity of the Manggarai people who have a socio-cultural relationship with nature and forests will also be threatened.
Another point of view from Indonesian environmental vehicle (Walhi) NTT is that the forest in West Manggani Regency is one of the locations for Cultivation areas with the designation of Permanent and Limited Production Forests. Therefore the development is not environmentally feasible. There are also forest tenure conflicts between indigenous peoples and the government which are still unresolved.
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