In 2005, the government gave a 30-year permit to Putri Naga Komodo, a nonprofit joint venture company partially funded by The Nature Conservancy and the World Bank to operate tourist facilities in hopes of eventually making the park financially self-sustaining.
Entrance and conservation fees — just a few dollars at the time — went up several tenfold for foreign tourists. With around 30,000 local and international visitors annually at the time, that would have given the park a budget of well over $1 million, but outraged government officials demanded that the funds go directly into the state budget. The deal collapsed in 2010, when Putri Naga Komodo's permit was yanked.
"They had no right to directly collect the entrance fees from the tourists," said Novianto Bambang, a Forestry Ministry official.
Dive operators and underwater photographers have asked The Nature Conservancy and similar organizations like WWF Indonesia, to return to Komodo and help with conservation efforts there.
Nature Conservancy representative Arwandridja Rukma did not address that possibility, saying only that the organization operates in Indonesia upon the invitation of the government.
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