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SWISS GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE RP 45 BILLION FOR FLORES TOURISM

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Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) (ANTARA News) – The Swiss government will provide Rp45 billion in funds to develop tourism in Flores Island, East Nusatenggara (NTT) in an integrated way until 2013.

 

After being developed properly, Flores Island could be a destination for tourists from many countries, Swiss Ambassador to Indonesia Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn said here Thursday.

 

The Swiss ambassador and Firmansyah Rahim, the Indonesian cultural and tourism ministry`s director general of tourism destination development, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on tourism development on Flores Island, in Kupang, Thursday, in the presence of among others of NTT Governor Frans Lebu Raya.

 

The cooperation in Flores tourism development was part of the Swiss government`s commitment to making Indonesia one of the seven priority countries in the economic, trade, investment and development cooperation.

 

Flores, one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, is located east of Sumbawa and Komodo, and west of Lembata and the Alor Archipelago, East Nusa Tenggara Province.

 

The west coast of Flores is one of the few places, aside from the island of Komodo itself, where the Komodo dragon can be found in the wild, and is part of the Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

The Kelimutu National Park is the second national park designated on Flores to protect endangered species. The Flores giant rat is also endemic to the island.

 

Flores was also the habitat of the now extinct dwarf proboscidean Stegodon until approximately 18,000 years ago. The island is believed to have also once harbored giant rodents such as Verhoeven`s Giant Tree Rat.(*)

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