THE tourist destination of Labuan Bajo, located in East Nusa Tenggara is expected to host some international forums and events to promote the region, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) stated recently.

“Most importantly, I want to develop Labuan Bajo to host the G20 Summit as well as ASEAN Summit, both to be held in 2023,” Jokowi noted during a limited meeting he attended at a hotel in Labuan Bajo wherein the attendees also comprised his ministers and government officials.

For this plan, the preparations are already underway from now on, Jokowi remarked while addressing Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Wishnutama, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, Governor of NTT Viktor Laiskodat, and others.

“It is a huge task that we should complete by the end of this year. We need to improve the quality of local products as well as upgrade the infrastructure, landscape, and waste management, as well as provide good water,” Jokowi noted while setting the target at the start of 2021 for promotion undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.

The Tourism Agency of West Manggarai District, tasked with managing Labuan Bajo’s tourism activities, pegged its total tourist visits in 2019 at 184,206, increasing from 163,807 people in 2018.

Thus, the original local government revenue from the tourism sector, particularly pertaining to its retribution fee, nearly doubled, from IDR34 billion to IDR60 billion. Labuan Bajo’s main attraction that has drawn more tourists to visit is the komodo, Varanus komodoensis, a dragon-like lizard endemic to the region. [antaranews/photo special]