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Dragon Tourism in Komodo National Park, Indonesia: Its Contribution to Conservation & Local Development

Walpole, Matthew J. (1997) Dragon Tourism in Komodo National Park, Indonesia: Its Contribution to Conservation & Local Development. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86399) (KAR id:86399)

Language: English

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Tourism is the world's largest industry and is widely promoted as a panacea for sustainable development in developing countries. Nature tourism to protected areas is viewed as an ecologically sustainable means to offset the costs of annexation for governments and local communities. The rapid development of 'ecotourism' as a benign and beneficial form of nature tourism has occured with little examination of its true impact.

This study adopted a multi-disciplinary approach to examine whether nature tourism based on Komodo National Park (KNP), Indonesia, conformed to the accepted definition of ecotourism as ecologically, economically and socially sustainable at a local level. It also examined whether different types of tourist have different impacts on conservation and local development.

The findings suggest that tourism to KNP does not achieve the ideals of ecotourism. Although ecological disturbance was minimal, the financial contribution to conservation barely offset the costs of tourism for KNP, and could be substantially increased by raising entrance and other fees. Contributions to the local economy were small relative to total expenditure on visits to KNP, and benefits accruing to village communities within KNP, which bear the greatest opportunity costs, were negligible. Independent tourists contributed the most to the local economy, whilst package tourists contributed very little. Cruise passengers, the most affluent visitors to KNP, contributed virtually nothing due to the enclave nature of cruise operations.

The limitations of current tourism development in and around KNP reflect traditional patterns of tourism evolution rather than a reorientation towards ecotourism. Continued evaluation will be necessary to ensure that future development adheres to sustainable principles. This study has provided a template for rapid, cost effective evaluations of nature-based tourism which could be implemented elsewhere.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86399
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Komodo National Park; ecotourism; local development; sustainability
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:57 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2021 16:35 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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