MAUMERE, the capital city of Sikka Regency is the most dynamic and bustling town in Flores. The city has developed more rapidly than the other ones since 1958. Its flatland topography and its location in the middle of the island of Flores make Maumere easily accessible from Makassar, Denpasar, Kupang and Surabaya. Lorens Say harbor known to have the deepest anchor in Indonesia makes Maumere be a commercial port and container port that distribute goods to cities in Flores and Lembata.
Besides, Maumere also has an adequate Airport which becomes the only alternative one in Flores to be landed by wide body Boeing 737 every day. As the second class Airport, Frans Seda Airport is now aimed by several national airlines companies such as Garuda, NAM Air, TransNusa and Wings Air to operate Boeings serving routes from and to Maumere. The Manager of Frans Seda Airport, Yohanes Keraf projecting at the end of fiscal 2018, Frans Seda Airport is more perfect and ready to accommodate all types of aircrafts for landing day or night.
In addition to its public facilities such as adequate Airport and Port, Maumere is also listed as the city with its rapidly economic dynamics growth. Many service businesses such as hotels, restaurants, culinary, shopping centers which have been growing rapidly in the last 10 years. Not only that, entertainment centers and discotigues emerging as a sign that this city continues to be developed from time to time. Then, the question “is Maumere just simply said to be a city of services, central trade of Flores and or just as a transit one?” The answer is “no”. The city has other assets that must be explored and optimized. Sikkka Regional government has done a research and set three urged leading sectors to be developed for regional development and improvement of social welfare.
Sikka Regent, Fransiskus Roberto Diogo (Roby) and Vice Regent, Romanus Woga with the team have been analyzing and reviewing approximately only 5 priority sectors to advance Sikka and develop social welfare. The fours sectors being developed during their leadership, namely Agriculture, Educations, Basic Needs (Infrastructures), Health and Tourism. Data analysis of PDRB shows that PDRB contribution in Sikka regency is acquired 43% from agricultural sector; the second one is 32% from two service sectors (hotels, restaurants and others) and the rest gotten from marine and fisheries sectors.
According to Roby, one of the potential sectors begins being seriously developed during the leadership of Roby-Romanus is tourism sector. It is the right choice decided by the government and its indicators are affirmatively. Sikka has various potential of very alluring marine tourism, beaches, nature, culture and special interest. Maumere Bay Marine Park, for example is one of international diving locus known since the 1980s. This marine park has amazing wealth of biodiversity and marine life with its type of coral and typical fish species. This area is getting more attractive because it is adorned and protected by the island group in front of the enchanting town of Maumere. When it is managed, explored and promoted massively, it makes source of prospective foreign exchange.
Historically, Sikka has been the center of cultural, business and civilization development since a long time ago. As a matter of fact, Blikon Blewut, the biggest museum in East Nusa Tenggara collects a variety of cultural assets and Sikka and Flores peculiarities of cultural arts in particular and NTT in general. Many cultural relics and heritage are collected and stored neatly in the museum located in the District of Nita. Not far from the museum, there are well-known higher schools, St. Paul Ledalero and Ritapiret seminaries which become the oldest and biggest educational centers of Catholic faith in the world. The two seminaries which were ever visited by the late Pope John Paul II have graduated thousands of priests who serve catholic community in various parts of the world.
Cultural wealth generated from the past historical products. Sikka community that consists of five major tribes: Lio, Sikka Krowe Muhang Bajo, Palue and Tanah Ai certainly have their own uniqueness and cultural diversity. Sikka that has traditional dress, languages, customs, traditional arts, and traditions/rituals become wealth of the region and high tourist attraction. Besides, there are traditional villages such as Nuabari with its megalithic ritual, Watublapi and Dokar with ikat weaving and traditional dances. Here, there are also a colonial legacy of Jong Dobo with a unique story, Lepo Gete in Lela and other cultural diversity that exist in the community spread in all districts.
Sikka regency also has superior natural entrancement and beautiful beaches as well as special tours interest. The well-known beaches in the area: Waiara, Koka, Wairterang, Doreng, Kajuwulu and other beaches in the islands are very exotic and beautiful. There is also a fascinating waterfall Murusobe in Tanawao. Many spiritual sites in Sikka now become popular spiritual tourist destinations such as Wisung Fatima Lela, Sikka Old Church, and site of Mother of All Nations at Nita, WatuKrus in Bola and so forth.
Superior and comparative tourism potential is certainly the reason why the regent, Roby Idong and his vise regent, Romanus want to develop tourism in Sikka regency in order to become a most superior program. This development plan would be based on the Regional Tourism Development Master Plan (Ind. Rippada) with targeted goals. An anticipated output of movement to make Sikka as tourism district is to do extent tourism mapping comprehensively. It needs priority of adequate budgetary support to get real final ultimate impact because until now Sikka has no obvious tourist icon yet. Landmarks and trade-mark (symbol and sale value) is still vague; to sell cultures is shy, to push marine tourism development is also reluctant, even more spiritual.
As lip service is enough to say Maumere as service city and or transit town. Everything is in uncertainty. All is not expected that is why recently, the government boosts development of superior tourism sector. Dare the government make a new branding “Sikka District Tourism” and the centre of Flores Economic Growth
Therefore, the strategic plan for Sikka tourism development achievement should be measured gradually starting from the first year until the end of the period of Robys’s Leadership. Many sides hope that the goodwill of the regent and his vice should be taken in real action by technical authorities (Ind. SKPD) and involving all stakeholders in tourism to have the same perception “Towards Sikka District Tourism”. (team/42na)