Jakarta. Indonesia will host the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, and the Group of Twenty, or G-20, meetings in 2023 in the port town of Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores in East Nusa Tenggara.
The government has also been promoting the once sleepy town as a tourist hub for visitors heading to the nearby Komodo Island, one of Indonesia's "Ten New Balis."
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo visited Labuan Bajo on Monday to see the progress of development in the new tourist destination.
Jokowi said the local government still has to build new infrastructures, improve waste management and solve the problem of the lack of clean water in the area by the end of this year before a full promotional campaign for Labuan Bajo as a luxury "super premium tourist destination" is launched in 2021.
"We also want to start preparing Labuan Bajo for the G-20 and Asean Summits in 2023. Planning for those is already underway from now," the president said.
Jokowi said the central government will send a ship to clean up the oceans near Labuan Bajo in February.
"We will also build an incinerator and a new landfill to improve waste management in the town. But the most important thing is to educate people on efficient waste management," Jokowi said.
The Public Works and Housing Ministry will also increase the supply of clean water to the town to 100 milliliters per second.
Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, meanwhile, has been ordered to plant five to seven million trees every year in the area to make it more environmentally sustainable as a busy tourist destination.
The president acknowledged that land disputes have been a problem during the current development. As a solution, he has asked the local government to synergize customary laws with positive laws.
Zoned New Development
The new and improved Labuan Bajo will be divided into five zones: Bukit Pramuka, Kampung Air, Kampung Ujung, a new port and a marina.
"They will all become public spaces with beautiful landscape designs," Jokowi said.
The runway at Labuan Bajo's Komodo Airport will be extended this year to increase traffic and allow more visitors to come each year.
New extensions to the seaport will allow it to accommodate 600,000 tons of cargo annually.
The president said he hoped local residents will play a big role in managing the town once it is launched as a new premium tourist destination. A creative hub will be established in Labuan Bajo to help small businesses entrench their presence in the town.
"We want to promote traditional weaving from the area, local coffee and the culinary traditions of Labuan Bajo, as well as its cultural attractions and arts and crafts," the president said.
In order to do so, the government may create new international events to attract foreign tourists.
Jokowi also visited a new tourist spot still being developed called Waringin Peak in Labuan Bajo on Monday.
The 1,300 square-meter area once completed will feature a souvenir shop, an amphitheater, a park and a lookout where visitors can enjoy a brilliant sunset.