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Galveston Jakarta Capital Reviews: Ministry Expects Tourism Boost after Sumba Resort Named World's Best

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July 19, 2017 12:00 PM

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Jakarta. Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said on Tuesday (11/07) his office will expect a boom in tourism on Sumba Island in East Nusa Tenggara after Nihiwatu Resort was named the best hotel in the world by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.

Speaking in Central Jakarta on Wednesday, Arief said the award will give confidence to Sumba residents to promote tourism to their island.

"[In the region], we must compete with Vietnam to boost tourism here, but we need to work on easing regulations, which are not appealing to investors," the minister added.

Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian country mentioned as a "most improved country" in the World Economic Forum's 2017 travel and tourism competitiveness index. That list also includes Japan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Israel.

Arief said the main problem facing the tourism industry in Indonesia is tight government regulations. To change that, the minister has urged provinces to create special economic zones and show preferential treatment to investors in tourism facilities.

"Tourist destinations must establish their own economic zones and give investors special treatment so they do not have to deal with local bureaucracy. It should be like a one-stop service for investors," he said.

Travel + Leisure magazine has named Nihi, dubbed as a "new paradise beyond Bali," the world's best hotel for two consecutive years.

The resort offers tree house villas situated on top of a cliff as well as 33 other private villas with their own swimming pools, all constructed with local and organic material. James McBride of Nihi Resort said the hotel offers eco-friendly spaces as well as island exploration expeditions, where guests can engage with local communities.

"I think luxury is an overused term. If you build a resort by the beach, that's no longer luxury to me. Our accommodation is elegant and built with local products, but luxury is not about what you build. It's about people and experiences, and those two together are what makes us excellent," McBride said.

Aloysius Seran from Sumba's Development Planning Board said the island has become more well known in recent years.

"We used to be less famous than Sumbawa [West Nusa Tenggara], but now people are more familiar. We are hoping the government will show support and help build our infrastructure and improve local education and health services, empowering our communities," Aloysius said.

Rooms at Nihi Resort start at $750 a night, with a minimum stay of three nights required for booking. A five-bedroom estate available for booking can cost from $6,350 to $14,175 per night. Guests can reach Sumba Island by taking flights to either Tambolaka Airport in West Sumba or Waingapu Airport in East Sumba.

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