Wednesday, 14 Zulqaidah 1440 / 17 July 2019

Wednesday, 14 Zulqaidah 1440 / 17 July 2019

NTT wants to open direct flights with China to boost tourism

Kamis 01 Nov 2018 15:02 WIB

Red: Reiny Dwinanda

Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.

Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.

Foto: Republika/Edi Yusuf
NTT hopes to attrack tourists from China with opening direct flights.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, KUPANG -- East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) sought to open direct flights with other countries to facilitate transport of foreign tourists. NTT hoped it could boost its tourism sector as a new source of income.

"Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat plans to begin with charter flights with China as the main target to attract Chinese tourists," head of the regional Tourism service Marius said here on Wednesday.

Marius said the government is set to open direct international flights to facilitate transport of foreign tourists to one of the country's poorest provinces. In mid term NTT set target to draw 3 million tourists both local and foreign tourists to the province a year, he said.

East Nusa Tenggara hopes to attract tourists mainly via Kupang or Labuan Bajo. There has been plan to develop Labuan Bajo airport into an international airport.

Labuan Bajo is the main access to the Komodo National Parkknown for being the habitat of ancient giant lizards, Komodo, found only in the Indonesian Komodo islands. Labuan Bajo was one of the tourist destinations visited by the delegates to the recent annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Nusa Dua Bali. Hundreds of of the delegates visited Labuan Bajo after the big meeting.

Marius apparently was inspired by the success of North Sulawesi in drawing Chinese tourists after opening direct flight with a number of cities in China. "North Sulawesi has succeeded in developing its tourism industry by opening direct flight between Manado and a number of cities in China. North Sulawesi is even in difficulty to provide accommodation for the Chinese as they come in thousands," he said.

Also read: Lion Air opens new routes for Manado-China chartered flights

He said, however, East Nusa Tenggara needs to revitalize its infrastructure and build more infrastructure. "Hotels, restaurants, and transport facilities need revamping and more units of the facilities are needed," he said.

He said the provincial administration hoped to see more visitors to Labuan Bajo after the IMF-World Bank meeting but there were only hundreds on poor infrastructure. "Therefore, supporting infrastructure is vital to develop tourism industry ," he said.

He said the provincial administration also hopes to open direct flight with Singapore and Australia. China has been the main target in opening direct flights as the world's second largest economy has become the largest tourism market. Hundreds of millions of Chinese travel abroad every year.

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