The Jakarta Post
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo wants Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara to be a "super premium" tourist destination and has ordered the management not to mix it with a tourist destination for "middle- to lower-income tourists".
"Labuan Bajo is super premium. Be careful. I have warned [related agencies] to be careful. Don't mix [the management of the] super premium [tourist destination] with the middle lower ones," Jokowo said while opening the Kompas 100 CEO Forum at The Ritz Carlton, Kuningan, South Jakarta on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.
To achieve his goal, Jokowi asked Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio to apply a quota system for the tourists visiting Labuan Bajo, the nearest town to access Komodo Island, where komodo dragons live.
"If necessary, apply a quota. How many people may enter Labuan Bajo in a year. I have given the direction to Tourism Minister Pak Wishnutama," the President said.
Previously, East Nusa Tenggara Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat had mentioned that Komodo Island was designed to be a premium class tourist destination. Last year he said he wanted to apply an "entrance fee" of US$500, but this year the amount proposed has changed to $1,000. His plan has received some opposition.
Responding to that, head of the East Nusa Tenggara Regional Office of the Finance Directorate General, Lydia Kurniawati Christyana, said Viktor's statement was meant to lure foreign tourists, especially those in the high income bracket to increase the province's financial achievement. "Maybe his statement is a little bit extreme," Lydia said on Friday.
Head of the Tourism Authority in Labuan Bajo Flores Shana Fatina Sukarsono said that in the last couple of years the government had increased development in the tourism sector by building ports, airports and roads.
"East Nusa Tenggara has a lot of tourism potential so that people who go there are in the premium market," she said. (gis)