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.