The Jakarta Post
East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) is optimistic about its tourism prospects as Labuan Bajo in West Manggarai regency is being touted as a “new Bali”.
NTT Governor Victor Laiskodat believes tourism is the only sector that could help give development in the province a boost.
Therefore, he appreciated the initiatives of state-airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I (AP I) to expand El Tari International Airport in the provincial capital of Kupang and the selection of the city to host the Collaborative Destination Development (CDD) forum.
The CDD, initiated by AP I in 2015, is a focus group discussion to promote tourism and business potential in the regions.
“I appreciate AP I for what will be done in the province,” Victor said earlier this week at the CDD forum in Kupang.
In addition to Labuan Bajo, the province is home to many other destinations, including Kupang, Alor, Rote, Ende and Sumba, as well as the popular Komodo National Park.
AP I president director Faik Fahmi said after the completion of the airport expansion in Kupang, the company planned to upgrade other airports in the province to help the economy grow.
“The airport in Kupang is the main gateway to East Nusa Tenggara, supporting export-import activities and acts as a tourism hub that connects to 13 airports in the province’s remote areas,” Faik added.
“As of December, there were at least 258 outbound flights per week from Kupang with a capacity of 24,255 seats,” said Faik, adding that El Tari’s inbound and outbound traffic frequencies had grown from 1.3 million in 2014 to 2.1 million in 2017.
Meanwhile, traffic at 14 other airports in NTT had shown an a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent between 2015 and 2017.
AP I has invested Rp 400 billion ((US$27.59 million) to expand El Tari, the works for which are expected to be completed in July 2019. It also plans to upgrade airports in several tourist destinations such as Alor, Labuan Bajo and Rote, with the hope that tourist arrivals grow 20 percent annually from 9 percent, currently. (bbn)