Govern­ment to Ac­cel­erate Ma­rina Con­struc­tion in Labuan Bajo as Air­port Plans Come To­gether


The days of Kai Ke­cil is­land in Maluku or Labuan Bajo in Flores be­ing some of the coun­try's best kept tourist secrets are over, with the stun­ning spots in­creas­ingly find­ing them­selves on the world's top must-visit des­ti­na­tions lists.

The In­done­sian govern­ment has an­nounced plans to open in­ter­na­tional flight routes di­rect to Labuan Bajo while ac­cel­er­at­ing the con­struc­tion of a ma­rina in the area to meet cur­rent de­mand. PT Angkasa Pura I has been tapped to op­er­ate the Ko­modo Air­port, which would soon be­come the Ko­modo In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Shana Fatina, who cov­ers Labuan Bajo for the Tourism Min­istry's ten pri­or­i­tized team, said the plan will see easy ac­cess be­tween the des­ti­na­tion and Dar­win, in Aus­tralia's north. Dili, the cap­i­tal of Ti­mor-Leste, will also be ser­viced.

“This is seen as the con­tin­u­a­tion of tri­lat­eral diplo­macy be­tween In­done­sia, Ti­mor-Leste and Aus­tralia,” Fatina said.

While wait­ing for the de­tails to be con­firmed for the air­port, ma­rina con­struc­tion has picked up pace after ground broke on April 20. The project, ham­pered by the re­lo­ca­tion of a fish mar­ket, is ex­pected to open in a soft launch in Au­gust of next year.

The con­struc­tion plays a vi­tal role in sta­bi­liz­ing the tourism part­ner­ship be­tween the East Nusa Teng­gara govern­ment and US-based ferry op­er­a­tor Car­ni­val. The govern­ment is also re­quired to en­sure at least one five-star ho­tel with a min­i­mum of 180 rooms is nearby.

With the ma­rina tar­geted to be fully op­er­a­tional in 2019, in­ter­na­tional lux­ury fer­ries could soon har­bour in Labuan Bajo with easy ac­cess to sev­eral tourism des­ti­na­tions near East Nusa Teng­gara.

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