As tourists resided by the picturesque location of Labuan Bajo, their wanderlust ignited by the allure of this enchanting paradise.
Labuan Bajo, a mesmerizing destination nestled in the aquatic paradise of Kabupaten Manggarai Barat, became the vibrant host of the 42nd ASEAN Summit held from May 9 to 11, 2023. This momentous event left an indelible mark on the entire region’s socio-cultural growth and economic prosperity, while elevating the already renown tourism ecosystem. It was a resounding success
An influx of visitors eager to be a part of this historic moment was witnessed, beyond just exploring the wonders it has to offer. The essence of the region’s identity as a premier tourism destination was revitalized beyond the boundaries of Labuan Bajo.
During their stay in Labuan Bajo, the majority of the ASEAN delegates had specific destinations and activities on their bucket list brimming with adventures. The explored the wonders of visiting Komodo National Park, diving and snorkeling, exploring local markets, and even thrilling hikes and treks. This became a must-visit destination for their return trip within the next two years, as they have said.
According to a recent study conducted by the Directorate of Strategic Studies and the Deputy of Strategic Policy, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy/Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Agency in collaboration with the Labuan Bajo Flores Authority (BPOLBF), the summit’s struck a harmonious chord with various facets which encompassed economic, socio-cultural, and environmental aspects. With the local economy receiving an uplifting of 0.02 percent boost, the government expenditures and strategic investments played a pivotal role in this momentous growth.
This sculpts Labuan Bajo as an unparalleled tourism gem on the world map and as the event buzzed with life, over 15,000 skilled workers became the driving force behind various sectors such as transportation services, restaurants, and waste managements that created a multitude of prosperity and progress. A staggering 3.26 percent economic upswing in West Manggarai regency, East Nusa Tenggara, the center of the summit and the extent of this economic magic depended on the competitive prowess of various economic sectors in each province such as Bali and South Sulawesi who experienced a 0.013 percent increase of the economic spillover effect.
This economic bliss did not end at the borders of Labuan Bajo
The virtual realm also buzzed with excitement. Social media platforms like TikTok, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook ignited passionate conversations regarding the mesmerizing experience in Labuan Bajo. Media coverage of the event, especially in the ASEAN member countries, encapsulated Labuan Bajo’s image to unprecedented heights. Online searches for, “Labuan Bajo + ASEAN Summit” reached an all-time high in the last 12 months signifying the woidespread global curiosity about this captivating destination. This was further actualized when the keyword,“Labuan Bajo”, revealed 98 percent positive sentiment across the news articles with 299 articles whopped.
However, real heroes of this milestone reached were the local communities and the local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) players who embraced their roles in the ASEAN Summit with a 44 percent increase in average revenues with almost 99 percent of the MSMEs respondents expressed their willingness to participate future events, while dreaming of a horizon where Labuan Bajo’s magic would touch every corner of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), involving more array of MSMEs stakeholders.
Labuan Bajo was not only embraced but soaring heights of human resources’ development in the neighboring areas, local communities and kindling a sense of unity and pride were also empowered.
The success of the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo has brought an unforgettable legacy and triumph of prosperity, not only in terms of economic growth but also fostering a positive socio-cultural environment. This extraordinary summit will forever etch itself a time in history where Labuan Bajo soared to the peak of its potential, captivating the world and laying the foundation for continued growth for wanderers far and wide.
The Jakarta Post
● Sun, July 30, 2023