Labuan Bajo, (ITN-IndonesiaTouristNews): Komodo and Labuan Bajo have become two indivisible titles. The popularity of the ancient lizard has helped lift the popularity of the small port city of Labuan Bajo on the western coast of Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara. It is as an entrance to see the Komodo dragons.
Ita Evalin, Operation Manager of Komodo Ecape, a live on board (LOB) operator based in Labuan Bajo explained where and how to get there. It always begins by telling where the dragons are and about the beaches on the exotic islands. After that, just explained about the tourism products. In this case it is about the LOB phinisi ship she named after Adishree, as one of the Komodo Escape products.
“When participating in Komodo Travel Mart 2017 and in ITB Asia 2017 (recently) we have received inquiry which must be immediately followed up. Inquiry comes from home and abroad. For next year we have received shipping reservations for the duration of 4 nights starting from Lombok and ending (check out) in Labuan Bajo, ” Ita said.
Since its first operation in May 2016 to date, 95% of Adishree’s shipping routes are within the Komodo National Park area. There are also Bali-Lombok routes (West Nusa Tenggara) and Labuan Bajo-Bali’s outlying routes-but not many. Komodo Escape has planned that Adishree will start a new shipping route to the east, ie to Alor and Raja Ampat by 2018.
Komodo Escape, the operator of the LOB Adishree ship, pretty much handles guests every year from Asia, among them are from Japan and South Korea. One group per trip usually consist of 10-12 pax. They aim to dive in the area of Komodo National Park averagely for 7 days 6 nights.
Domestic guests prefer more leisure by following the sailing packages or a day tour. The most popular duration for sailing package with LOB for the domestic tourists is 3 days 2 nights. Some has started trying to sail for 4 days and 3 nights. Day tour packages are usually booked by company guests.
“For now our guests are 50/50, between foreign and domestic guests,” Ita said.
The LOB ships in Labuan Bajo continue to grow, however, less than half of them based in Labuan Bajo. This transportation as well as accommodation will continue to move to explore destinations, especially those that are still rarely navigable for tourism activities.
Tourism cruise with LOB in Labuan Bajo is considered promising until three years into the future. “But it all depends on the promotion. It depends on the local government as well. For diving, the sea around Komodo habitat islands will remain the best destination, ” she added.
Sailing on board the LOB phinisi is a typical cruising on Indonesian waters. LOB involves a lot of manpower ranging from shipbuilding, logistics suppliers, ship crews to other supporting businesses such as workshop services and ship spare parts makers. Furthermore, cruise tourism with LOB participates in guarding the talents of phinisi shipbuilders and archipelagers of the archipelago. And it has a role in maintaining the maritime culture in this maritime country. *** (Yun Damayanti)