A GROUP of 112 islands in South-east Maluku last week made a debut at Bali and Beyond Travel Fair 2015 following a slew of infrastructure and facility developments in the last five years.
“Kei Islands are a hidden gem; very few people know where we are and what we have to offer,” said Andreas Rentanubun, regency head of South-east Maluku.
“We have many dive spots, and five of them are WWF-certified. Visitors can walk or cycle along our two-kilometre Ngur Tavur beach at low tide.”
Andreas added that seasonally, visitors would also be able to meet the pelicans migrating from Australia, and leatherback sea turtles swimming in the sea.
Other offerings include cave trekking, and learning about the history and culture of the locals who originated from Bali. The islands also cultivate pearls and are rich in seaweed and fishery.
They have an airport currently capable of accommodating ATR aircraft. Garuda Indonesia, Wings Air and Trigana offer 90-minute daily flights between Maluku province capital Ambon and South-east Maluku capital Langgur.
Andreas revealed: “We are planning to expand the runway to accommodate (Boeing 737 aircraft) next year and we are lobbying the airlines to connect Bali and Langgur.”
Alexander Wijono, board member of Maluku Tourism Board, said: “We expect the historic link between Bali and Kei Islands to help us promote the destination. We have been in touch with Bali Tourism Board for joint marketing and promotions in the future.”
He added that this year, Kei Islands would for the first time host the annual Darwin-Ambon Yacht Race.