The Regency of Wakatobi is a cluster of islands in the Province of Southeast Sulawesi. Today Wakatobi is the world’s tourist destination, thank to the wonderful under water paradise it is endowed with. The underwater corals and bio life of Wakatobi is the most abundant in the world. More than 90% of bio oceanic reefs species of the world are found in Wakatobi, which number 850 species, compared to the Carribean waters which has only 30 species, and the Red Sea 300 species.
The Regent of Wakatobi, Ir. Hugua stated that the Matohara airport had the capacity to accommodate only small aircrafts with maximum 30 passengers, while other means of transportation and infra-structures were still infrerior. Other facilities needed to be upgraded as well, and not less important was development of human resources to support tourism development program.
The Regent urged Central Government to facilitate international scale event in Wakatobi, not just Bali. Events under the theme of Go-to East must be enhanced such as Sail Banda, Wakatobi Festival, Festibal Raja Ampat etc. The challenge now is how to foster synergic action between the central and Regional Government, how to build adequate airports and infra-structure and to organize promotional events abroad.
In response to the question, Vice Chairman of Commission X of Parliament, Abdul Hakam Naja said that Wakatobi had the potential to be developed into national and international tourist destination after Bali and Yogyakarta, because of its underwater beauty. The Parliament will encourage related Ministries to develop infra-structures and tranpsoratation facilities, overseas promotion to sell Wakatobi etc.
Assuming that the Wakatobi airport is expanded and be wide enough to accommodate wide-body 737 aircraft, other supporting facilities need to be build as well, such as hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops etc. On the other hand the local communities must be prepared to display cultural shows, culi nary service, handicrafts, etc in addition to other tourist attractions like historical tourism and natural tourism.