ASEAN 2023

Labuan Bajo's preparations to host the 42nd ASEAN Summit

Labuan Bajo's preparations to host the 42nd ASEAN Summit

President Joko Widodo visited Batu Cermin Cave and reviewed MSMEs' products in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai, NTT, on Sunday, April 23, 2023. (ANTARA/Fransiska Mariana N/rst)

The super-priority tourism area of Labuan Bajo in West Manggarai District, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), has been chosen to host the 42nd ASEAN Summit on May 9-11, 2023.

The international meeting to be held in Labuan Bajo has attracted a great deal of attention. However, its readiness to hold activities attended by ASEAN heads of state is being questioned. The Indonesian government had made preparations in the form of conducting several developments in road infrastructure, health facilities, and accommodations in Labuan Bajo to welcome international guests.

Road infrastructure

Efforts have been made since long to prepare Labuan Bajo to host international events. The development of supporting infrastructure is one of the fundamental steps being encouraged by the central government for this activity.

The Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) is completing work to improve and construct a new road from Labuan Bajo to Golo Mori (Tana Mori), with a length of 25 kilometers and four bridges, with a total length of 175 meters.

Several other works are also being carried out in the area, including construction of the Roundabout Beach Club, marina shelters, installation of geomats on road corridors, arrangement of roundabouts at the entrance to the ITDC area, and strengthening slopes and stabilization of plants on roads that have been inaugurated by President Joko Widodo on March 14, 2023.

Apart from improving accessibility and connectivity of road and bridge infrastructure, the ministry also polished the Waringin Peak that will serve as the venue for the Spouse Program.

PUPR Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, during his visit to Labuan Bajo, emphasized the importance of regional and road corridor arrangements to ensure comfort during the ASEAN Summit.

Hadimuljono stated that best methods and quality materials were being used in all construction work since the standards for organizing these activities are on an international scale. The minister targets the work to be completed in early May of 2023.

Referral hospital

Apart from improvement in infrastructure, the government also readies the Komodo Labuan Bajo Hospital to support health services during the summit. The Indonesian Health Ministry appointed the Komodo Labuan Bajo Hospital as one of the referral hospitals for very important person (VIP) delegations.

The Health Ministry has urged the local government to prepare several types of services for the delegates, including a special VIP emergency room, VIP treatment room, VIP isolation room, and VIP ICU room.

During his working visit on April 30, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin was keen to ensure that the hospital is ready to provide services to patients during the summit.

Minister Sadikin, accompanied by the head of West Manggarai District, Edistasius Endi, and the deputy head of West Manggarai District, Yulianus Weng, undertook a tour from the first floor to the fourth floor of the Komodo Labuan Bajo Hospital.

According to the minister, improvements are required in several rooms, including the preparation of tools and supporting facilities. However, he is optimistic, as some of the equipment will arrive soon, and they can be immediately installed at the hospital.

Moreover, the minister is focused on ensuring the provision of heart disease and stroke service, which is the cardiac catheterization laboratory. The room is still under construction.

The room is considered important, as it will provide heart disease and stroke services to guests and the public during the activities later. The tools in that room will soon be used by specialist doctors with special education. To this end, Sadikin harbors high hopes for the construction of the heart disease and stroke center to be completed.

The Komodo Hospital also assured him regarding the hospital’s readiness to provide the best health services during the 42nd ASEAN Summit.

After visiting Komodo Hospital, Sadikin then headed to Siloam Hospital that is also one of the referral hospitals for the ASEAN Summit.

Apart from the two hospitals, Santo Yosep General Hospital in Labuan Bajo has also been appointed as a referral hospital for the ASEAN Summit. The government has also assigned Dr. Wahidin Sudirohusodo General Hospital in Makassar and Prof. Dr. I G N G Ngoerah General Hospital in Bali as referral hospitals.

Hotel readiness

The summit is scheduled to take place on May 9-11, but the series of activities will start on May 8. Thus, accommodation for the leaders, guest delegates, the committee involved, and the security team had been prepared long ago.

The Labuan Bajo Flores Authority Executing Agency (BPOLBF), which was involved as the local committee, informed that 1,156 rooms from 22 standard hotels and resorts in Labuan Bajo had been prepared as accommodation for the delegation and the national committee.

BPOLBF Director Shana Fatina stated that hotels, resorts, homestays, and even residents' houses have been filled and rented for around three thousand people to stay during the summit.

Organizing large-scale events, such as the ASEAN Summit, surely requires the involvement of several parties. This international event is forecast to increase hotel occupancy in the area to 100 percent, boost economy in the region, and also have a multiplier effect not only for hotel owners but also for farmers through the food supply chain.

The Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants (PHRI) of West Manggarai District echoed its commitment to providing best possible services for the guest delegates attending the activity.

Hotel management personnel, who are members of PHRI, promised to pay attention to hotel cleanliness and maintain comfort around the hotel area where the delegates stay. They also ensure that the workers will carry out service operational standards in an optimal manner for the guests.

According to PHRI, this international event is a good momentum for West Manggarai tourism, so that it can be recognized by the whole world.

They also hope that the ASEAN Summit will become a tourism promotion event, so that later, the ASEAN delegation guests can return to Labuan Bajo in future.

Visit of President Joko Widodo

Indonesia's chairmanship in the 42nd ASEAN Summit this time received serious attention. President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is strongly paying attention to Labuan Bajo’s preparations to host the summit.

During his visit to Labuan Bajo on April 22-25, 2023, the president had visited several locations, including the Labuan Bajo Batu Cermin Cave, and praised the beauty of the tourist destination.

He also reviewed the readiness of the local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Labuan Bajo and bought some of their products.

Moreover, the president visited the Loh Buaya Rinca Island in the Komodo National Park area. In there, he had the opportunity to walk through the elevated deck road that is the supporting infrastructure built by the PUPR Ministry.

The head of state then took a short break at Cafe Ranger and thereafter headed to the Komodo Information Center to observe the 52 dioramas at that location.

On the last day in Labuan Bajo, President Jokowi, accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi and NTT Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat, checked the readiness of the Meruorah Labuan Bajo Hotel as the main venue for the summit and Waringin Peak, which is the venue for the Spouse Program.

The president was keen to directly review the cooperation and collaboration of all parties to prepare this super-priority tourism area in Indonesia to host this important international activity.

The president wanted to leave no stone unturned to ensure that Indonesia is indeed worthy of hosting the 42nd ASEAN Summit. 

Related news: Minister ensures adequate digital infrastructure for ASEAN Summit
Related news: Infrastructure for ASEAN Summit ready: minister