Indonesia’s Tourism Minister expects economic ‘blessing’ from Asean Summit

Minister Sandiaga Uno expects the international summit hosted by Indonesia over May 9 to 11 to invigorate economic activity in the country.

Ruth Dea Juwita

Ruth Dea Juwita

The Jakarta Post


Komodo International Airport in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, is the main gate to one of Indonesia’s tourism hotspots.(JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

May 5, 2023

JAKARTA – Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno expects an international summit hosted by Indonesia later this month to invigorate economic activity in the country.

“Mudik [homecoming] and the 2023 Idul Fitri holiday have proven the tourism and creative economy sectors have again become the engine of our country’s economic revival,” the minister said on Tuesday, referring to the traditional mass travel season that marks the end of Ramadan.

“But [this] does not have to end here,” he continued. “We will see the economic revival momentum soon through the 42nd ASEAN Summit 2023.”

The government is finalizing facilities and infrastructure for the event, which will bring together representatives of ASEAN member states and Timor-Leste in Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores in East Nusa Tenggara.

“The economic turnover in Labuan Bajo as a super-priority destination will be affected by this big event. Therefore, once again, we need to take collaboration to the next level to make the 2023 ASEAN Summit a blessing that we should be grateful for,” the minister explained in his ministry’s weekly press briefing.

He expressed his hope this would also benefit the local community “through tourism and the creative economy”.

The 2023 ASEAN Summit will be held from May 9 to 11. Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry announced in March the summit was expected to adopt a road map for Timor-Leste to become ASEAN’s eleventh member state.

Sandiaga also reported on accommodation to cater to visitors during the event: “There are 38 accommodations, from three-star hotels to five-star hotels, with a capacity of more than 1,500 rooms. There are also boats as an alternative to accommodate more visitors. Life-on-board [LOB] accommodation, or, as we call it, hotel apung [floating hotels], are available as alternative accommodation. There are 26 boats with a capacity for 4,000 [people],” Sandiaga told reporters at the livestreamed event.

Sandiaga noted the island’s carrying capacity limited its ability to accommodate international visitors: “Due to limited space, we are focusing on the premium MICE [meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions] concept with activities that are personalized, localized, customized and small-scale.”

Large events could instead continue to be held in Nusa Dua, Bali, or in other areas, such as Jakarta, the minister noted. “This is also because […] we want to stay within the capacity of the Komodo National Park, which is 200,000 people, and of Komodo International Airport, which is 1.1 million people.”

Labuan Bajo Flores Tourism Authority (BPOLBF) president director Shana Fatina elaborated on the capacity constraints: “I realize the 2023 ASEAN Summit will be held during Labuan Bajo’s peak season, so some hotels will already be booked up during the Summit,” Shana said, speaking at the same briefing.

“Therefore, more alternative accommodation will be prepared, besides hotels and boats. There will be homestays, houses and rooms available to rent from local residents who are willing to open their homes to accommodate summit guests, especially domestic tourists, during this event,” she continued.

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