Mount Ijen, located in the East Java regencies of Banyuwangi and Bondowoso, will from January 2019 onwards close every first Friday of the month.
The Ijen crater, which draws hordes of visitors eager to witness the blue flame phenomenon resulting from dense sulphur concentrations, had seen intermittent closures over the years due to heightened seismic activity or phreatic eruptions. The most recent closure was last April, when some were reported to have taken ill after exposure to thick clouds of sulphur gas at Ijen.
With the imposition of a monthly closure, the East Java Natural Resources Conservation Agency hopes to allow “nature to rest”, the Jakarta Post reported.
According to some media reports, the attraction’s closure will be for cleaning and environmental management work, including facilities and infrastructural improvements, with the aim of stabilising the ecosystem around Mount Ijen.
Asian Trails DMC on Wednesday issued a circular announcing that visitors to the landmark will be offered alternative sightseeing in the region on days the crater is closed.
“Programmes and itineraries including visits to Mount Ijen will be adjusted in line with these regulations, either on the spot or in advance with our Indonesia team,” the notice read.
The Jakarta Post also reported that starting this year, entry to Mount Ijen will be ticketed, through online travel agents, to facilitate the management of visitor numbers.
As of last month, the estimated visitor cap was 1,000 a day, subject to change as planning and discussion progress.