Jakarta. Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia now operates direct flights to Wakatobi Island, Southeast Sulawesi, from the province's capital of Kendari, the company announced on Tuesday (26/12).
"The new route could be opened thanks to the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Tourism, which continue to support Garuda Indonesia's effort to strengthen the country's tourism sector," Garuda Indonesia marketing and information technology director Nina Sulistyowati said.
Wakatobi is popular among tourists as one of the best diving destinations in the world. It has the largest barrier reef in Indonesia, with 942 species of fish and 750 of corals.Garuda Indonesia launched the new route on an ATR 72-600 aircraft that can carry 70 passengers.
Garuda flies from Kendari to Wakatobi on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 12:05 p.m., arriving in Wakatobi at 12:55 p.m, while return flights leave at 1:25 p.m. and arrive at 2:25 p.m.
The Wakatobi airport has been developed to promote Wakatobi Island as one of the 10 prioritized tourism destinations.
According to the Wakatobi Tourism Agency, 22,000 tourists visited the district last year, 29 percent more than a year earlier. The government wants to attract 500,000 visitors to the destination by 2019.