Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo expects that the length of stay of tourists visiting Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), would be longer.

"We expect tourists to stay longer and spend more on shopping here," Widodo remarked after chairing a limited meeting focused on "Development of the Labuan Bajo Priority Tourism Destination" at the Labuan Bajo Hotel, NTT, on Monday.

Attendees at the meeting comprised Minister of Tourism Wishnutama, Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing Basuki Hadimuljono, Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir, Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, NTT Governor Viktor Laiskodat, State Secretary Pratikno, and other relevant officials.

"It means not the number of tourists but the spending," the president remarked.

The president is also eyeing widening and extending the runway at Komodo Airport in 2020.

No less important is the availability of clean water at the location.

In the meantime, under the nature preservation efforts in Labuan Bajo, the president has instructed the minister of environment and forestry to establish a nursery garden.

"Earlier, I instructed the minister of forestry to build a nursery garden capable of producing five to seven million tree seedlings. Thus, annually, it continues to grow in that way, routinely," the president explained.

President Widodo declared Labuan Bajo as a super premium destination and called to improve several facilities in the region, including developing new hotels, structuring five zones, and bringing about infrastructure improvements at Komodo Airport, Labuan Bajo.

Other orders concern the preparation of local human resources (HR) and local arts to make it more alive; resolution of land disputes, registration of large vessels, cleaning up trash at sea and on land, holding international events to encourage promotion, and ensuring security certainty for tourists.

The Tourism Office of West Manggarai District, as one that houses Labuan Bajo, NTT, recorded an increase in the number of tourist visits to Labuan Bajo in 2019 as compared to 2018.

In 2018, the number of tourist visits to Labuan Bajo reached 163,807, while in 2019, the figure rose to 184,206 tourists

Thus, in 2018, the West Manggarai Regional Original Revenue from the tourism sector, specifically for the cost of retribution, reached Rp34 billion, while in 2019, an increase of some 100 percent, or Rp60 billion, was recorded.

According to data held by the Labuan Bajo Tourism Office, the boost in tourist arrivals to Labuan Bajo was owing to the Komodo Dragon (Veranus komodoensis) on Komodo Island and became an icon of NTT’s tourism.

Foreign tourists travelling to Labuan Bajo mostly came from Germany, Britain, Spain, Australia, and several other European countries.

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Translator: Desca Lidya, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Sri Haryati
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