Wear Your Bunaken Entrance Tag with Pride!
All visitors to the Bunaken National Park (divers and non-divers) are required to pay an entrance fee, in accordance with North Sulawesi Provincial Government Provincial Law Number 9/2002. The entrance fee for foreign visitors is Rp 50,000 per daily ticket (approximately US$6), or Rp 150,000 (approximately US$17) for a waterproof plastic entrance tag valid for the full calendar year.
Entrance tags and tickets can be purchased direct from all NSWA members, or from ticket counters on Bunaken Island and on Siladen Island. They must be carried at all times that guests’ are within the park boundaries, and tags can easily be affixed to guests’ diving or snorkeling gear or on backpacks. Enforcement of the entrance fee system is conducted via spot checks by park rangers on land and at sea.
The entrance fee system has been adapted from the well-known Bonaire Marine Park system, and the proceeds from the sales of the entrance tags are managed by the Bunaken National Park Management Advisory Board (BNPMAB), a multi-stakeholder board that NSWA is a member of. The system has been very successful in raising over $250,000 for conservation programs in the Bunaken Marine Park since its inception in 2001.
All proceeds from sales of the entrance tags and tickets are managed by the Bunaken National Park Management Advisory Board (BNPMAB), a multistakeholder board established by Governor’s decree No. 233/2000 and consisting of dive operators, environmental organizations, academia, pertinent government officials and villagers from within the park.
The BNPMAB will utilize these funds to finance a number of high priority conservation programs in the park, including patrols and enforcement to abolish destructive fishing practices such as blast and cyanide fishing, village improvement programs within the park, collection and disposal of plastic and other wastes entering the park’s waters, marine conservation education of village children and adults, and reef and mangrove rehabilitation.
We greatly appreciate your support and cooperation with this entrance fee system. Conservation of Bunaken’s spectacular marine habitats requires funding, and your entrance fee is a valuable contribution to saving Bunaken’s reefs. For more information on Bunaken and North Sulawesi in general (terrestrial and marine ecotourism), please visit the websites www.north-sulawesi.com and www.divenorthsulawesi.com.
The Bunaken Entrance Fee – Questions & Answers
Why do I have to pay a fee to enter Bunaken?
Bunaken is a national park, protected since 1991 for its fantastic reefs and mangroves and outstanding biodiversity. As with any park, conservation costs money. In order to obtain conservation financing for the park, the Bunaken Management Advisory Board has adopted a tool used throughout the world for national parks – entrance fees. Note that the entrance fee system is formalized in North Sulawesi Provincial Laws No. 14/2000 and No. 7/2002; violation of these laws is considered a criminal offense.
Where does my money go?
Eighty-percent of the funds collected from the entrance fee system are used specifically for conservation programs in the park, including enforcement, conservation education, trash management, and environmentally-friendly village development. The remaining 20% is split between local, provincial, and national government.
Why do I still see management problems in the park?
The entrance fee system was only begun on 15 March 2001. It will take time to accumulate the funds needed to properly manage the park. Please be patient – we are 100% committed to saving Bunaken National Park and making it even better for the next time you visit. What are the priority programs to be funded by the entrance fee system? Top priorities include strengthening and expanding a joint ranger/villager patrol system to eliminate destructive fishing practices such as blast and cyanide fishing and enforce the park zonation rules (eg, no fishing in designated tourism zones), as well as funding reef-friendly village development programs designed to increase villager support for the park. Other priorities include management of the plastic trash problem, conservation education in the villages, and reef and mangrove rehabilitation.
Why isn’t trash management the top priority?
While plastic trash above and below water is unsightly and a primary complaint of visitors to the park, stopping fishing practices that destroy the reef is a more urgent matter. The trash problem is a complex one that has multiple sources, but for the time being, the focus will be on beach cleanups and island waste management while the bigger problem of Manado city trash is negotiated with the government and international development agencies. Stopping the flow of Manado trash into the park is considered a long-term priority.
Why do I still see people fishing if this is a protected park?
Over 30,000 people in 22 villages live within the park’s boundaries and have been there for at least a century before the park was created. While many of these people are farmers and blue water fishermen, some of them do depend upon the reefs for their survival. The zones of Bunaken National Park include areas reserved specifically for conservation, for tourism, and for village use. These divisions allow all three of these interests to peacefully coexist.
How can I help Bunaken further?
As an honored guest to Bunaken, please respect the rules and especially the reefs of the park. Avoid damaging corals and other marine life by controlling your buoyancy and not standing on the reef. Report any violations you see immediately to your host operation or the park patrols – anchoring on the reef is a primary violation! While on the islands, consider patronizing local food, drink and handicraft vendors – one more person benefiting from tourism is one less person pressuring the reefs.
Secondly, consider donating to the park through the dive operators of the North Sulawesi Watersports Association (NSWA) or the BNPMAB. The NSWA has several donation programs, including a scholarship program for local youths in the park. The BNPMAB has overall responsibility for conservation programs in the park and can put any donations to good use.
Thank you for visiting Bunaken National Park.
We hope you enjoy your stay, and aim to ensure it is even better the next time you visit.
Bunaken National Park Management Advisory Board