10 Tiny Towns with Big Tourism Dreams

Komodo Island, Indonesia
Stunning scenery combined with dangerous, ancient-looking monsters makes for an unusual tourist treat. © Joe McDonald/Corbis

Population: 2,000 [source: Komodo]

Of all the things a quiet, Indonesian island has to offer, barren land supporting the largest population of one of the deadliest beasts on the planet is typically not on the short list. Komodo Island, in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province, is challenging that.

In fact, the island's hundreds of Komodo dragons do draw tourist interest, but officials are betting they can increase it with Sail Komodo, a boat festival, and the construction of a port capable of handling major cruise ships [source: Motlagh].

In 2012, Indonesia put more than $150,000 into promoting Sail Komodo and began training the local populace to make handicrafts they can sell at the event [source: Jakarta Post]. The cruise-port plan, which includes Komodo Island and more than a dozen other locations, aims to draw hundreds of thousands of new, high-income tourists by 2016, some of whom might take the time to glimpse the terrifying, 200-pound (90-kilogram) venomous lizards that roam Komodo National Park [source: Atmodjo].