Indonesia is planning to host the G20 and ASEAN summits in Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara province when she takes over the presidency of the world economic grouping and chairmanship of the South-east Asian association in 2023.
In preparation for the two high-level events, efforts are being accelerated to develop the tourism facilities in Labuan Bajo, including the expansion of Komodo Airport to give it a larger terminal and longer runway with capacity for more international flights.
â€śWe need to improve everything in Labuan Bajo, including the infrastructure and the landscape. There are also waste problems and clean water issues that we should tackle. We should work hard so that the destination is ready to host international events in the years to come,â€ť Indonesian president Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said in a statement released by the State Palace.
Last year, Jokowi’s administration had named Labuan Bajo as one of the government’s five super-priority destinations to be developed in line with overall efforts to establish the tourism industry as one of the country’s new drivers of economic growth.
Developments outlined for Labuan Bajo include an integrated tourism complex in the Marina area, which will house the 147-key Hotel Inaya Bay Komodo, a ballroom for up to 1,000 people, commercial spaces, a marina, and a flight deck; a creative hub in Puncak Waringin, which will comprise an amphitheatre, green open spaces and an observation deck.
Eager industry players have offered suggestions for other aspects that needed attention for Labuan Bajo to be ready to host the events.
Reza Abdullah, president director of Royalindo Convention International, said the destination needed to tackle the current lack of five-star hotels.
“There are sufficient three- and four-star hotel rooms in Labuan Bajo for summit participants, but the heads of state will need presidential suites or at least the largest suite in a five-star hotel,” opined Reza.
According to the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association, there are only 102 star-rated hotels in Labuan Bajo with a combined inventory of 2,150 rooms. The 205-key Ayana Komodo Resort is the only five-star hotel in the destination.
Reza believes there is ample time for Labuan Bajo to expand its upscale hotel offerings.
Susilowani Daud, president director of Pacto Convex, shares Reza’s sentiments, saying that president Jokowi has a good track record in making good his infrastructure development promises.
“(Three years is sufficient time for) Labuan Bajo to be ready for the G20 and ASEAN summits in 2023,” Susilowani said.
Jokowi’s big plans for Labuan Bajo have attracted investors.
“As a destination, the popularity of Labuan Bajo has been rising in recent years. Plans for the G20 and the ASEAN summits could trigger more incoming investments,” said Susilowani.
Besides infrastructure development, Wisnu Budi Sulaeman, CEO of Puntama Convex, also urged for attention on electricity, clean water issues and food supply management.