"I hope that the presence of this airports new terminal and the extension of its ranways will help boost the arrivals of tourists to this region," President Jokowi said when inaugurating the aiports terminal and runway extension on Sunday.
According to President Jokowi, the expansion of the airport is very important for accelerating the economic development in East Nusa Tenggara, particularly that of the Flores Island and its surrounding.
He said that the airport was expected to become a gate for tourists to come to enjoy the beauty of Labuan Bajos beaches and undersea panorama, the beauty of Lake Kalimutu, the prehistoric Liang Bua Cave, the Komodo Park in Komodo Island, the Merah Muda Beach and many others.
The President also asked that the promotions of the region should be intensified after the inauguration of the airport terminal.
The regional government needs to cooperate with various airlines to increase the intensity of flights to the airport, the president added.
He expressed his hope that flights coming to the Komodo airport should come not only from Bali but also from other cities in Indonesia and abroad such as Jakarta, Surabaya and Singapore.
Jokowi also expected that the economy of Labuan Bajo would improve in line with the increasing number of tourists visiting the region.
The economic activities in Labuan Bajo could be generated through increasing the number of hotels, advancing creative economy in the form of souvenirs and boosting tourism-related small-business development.
He asked the airport management to continue maintenance of the newly inaugurated airport.
The airport was initially developed as an air strip in 1975. Now the airport already has a clean and specious terminal with an artistic design. It now had a 2,250-meter runway with a width of 45 meters.
The president arrived in NTT on Sunday for a working visit during which he will also inspect a 5-MW solar power plant in Oelpuah Village, Centgral Kupang District.
On Monday, the president is expected to visit Atambua to launch the inauguration of the groundbreaking development of Rotiklot Dam in the border area with Timor Leste.
He will also attend the Christmas Day celebration in Kupang before leaving for Jakarta.