Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, (ANTARA News) - Head of the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) tourism office Marius Ardu Jelamu said development of the Komodo International Airport in Labuan Bajo, in the district of Manggarai Barat, Flores, has become a priority project by the government to facilitate direct international flights.

Labuan Bajo in the western tip of Flore will facilitate tourists to visit the Komodo island, the habitat of Komodo, an ancient giant lizard, which is found only in that small island.

"Expansion of the airport of Komodo is priority in the government development program, to facilitate tourists visiting the Komodo island one of 10 tourist destinations to be developed by the government ," Marius Ardu Jelamu said here on Friday.

In developing 10 tourists destination, direct international flight is the main agenda for the government, he added.

Tourist Minister Arief Yahya had said that promotion of the Komodo airport into an international airport would attract more foreign tourists to the Komodo island.

Marius said the government wants to develop international airport in each of major tourist destination.

"The Silangit international airport in Tapanuli, North Sumatra was built to facilitate tourists to Lake Toba which is one of the 10 major tourist destinations," he cited.

He said international flights to NTT have to wait until the expansion of the Labuan Bajo airport has been completed.

"After the completion of the airport many foreign tourists are expected to come from China, Japan, Australia, and other countries to the Komodo island," he said.

He said domestic flights to and from the province of NTT have run well , adding the Komodo airport serves 28 domestic flights arrivals and departures everyday.

"NTT has been well connected by direct flights with Jakarta, Surabaya, Bali, and Makassar. There are 14 active airports in NTT," he said.

Reporter: Saragih
Editor: Otniel Tamindael
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