Ambon Mayor Jopi Papilaja has welcomed the operation of Swiss Bel Hotel in the city, saying it would lift the image of Maluku`s provincial capital.
"The presence of Swiss Bel managed by an interantional hotel network will boost the image of Ambon as a modern city worth visiting," he said at a ceremony marking the official opening of the hotel dubbed "Pearl of Ambon" here on Monday.
He admitted the investor had initially hesitated to build the hotel in the city in 2005 but after being persuaded by the local government and promised special facilities, they finally agreed to carry out the project.
"I once even reminded them to finish it quickly so that it could be launched before I complete my tenure," he said.
He said the presence for the first time of a five-star hotel increased the number of star-rated hotels in the region following the Aston Natsepa a year ago.
"Swiss Bel and Aston will improve the image of Ambon as a secure place and worth visiting by both domestic and foreign tourists," he said.
The presence of the hotels demonstrated the seriousness of investors to boost development of the city after being ravaged by social conflict in 1999.
Papilaja expressed appreciation to the management of the Swess Bel Hotel that had helped promote Ambon and Maluku through the hotel`s network.