Lombok urges tourists to come back as it begins post-quake recovery

Officials say the majority of hotels were not damaged in the earthquakes

As Lombok begins picking up the pieces following the recent string of devastating earthquakes the trade is adamant to show that most parts of the popular tourist island remain unaffected and win back confidence from foreign visitors.

Indonesia president Joko Widodo has issued a number of directives to accelerate reconstruction and rehabilitation of public facilities and infrastructure, housing, social and health services, and economy in Lombok. The government will also see that safety and security, as well as public and government services resume normalcy.

As reconstruction of facilities and infrastructure gets underway, officials say the majority of Lombok hotels remain undamaged

The president has also set a target that facilities for education, health, religious and economic activities to be ready by no later than December this year, with other facilities expected to be rebuilt by December 2019.

Meanwhile, the government has also announced a two-pronged strategy for the tourism sector, which will be led by the West Nusa Tenggara tourism office with supervision from the Ministry of Tourism.

The first one is destination rehabilitation, particularly in the areas directly affected by the disaster including the Gili islands, Senggigi, Senaruand Sembalun, among others.

The second one is the promotional strategy. Promotion will be focused on areas which are not affected by the earthquakes, such as Mataram, Sekotong, Mandalika and Tetebatu.

Fauzan Zakaria, head of West Nusa Tenggara Tourism Promotion Board, said: “The recovery programmes will not solely involve one stakeholder but everyone. The Public Works Agency will rehabilitate and re-establish tourist destinations and attractions, fixing broken infrastructure in these areas, for example.

“Airlines, hotels and other tourism stakeholders will do their part in launching promotions to limit cancellations and build traveller confidence to visit Lombok again.”

Lalu Abdul Hadi Faishal, chairman of Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association West Nusa Tenggara Chapter, said: “On the hotel side, one of the promotional efforts we have launched is to roll out deals where members get one night free with a three-night stay. This is valid until the end of the year.”

Such efforts are intended to show that the hotels in Lombok remain intact, Faishal elaborated.

“There are 83 hotels in Lombok of three-star and above categories, and 763 non-star properties. According to data, only 25 hotels suffered some damages of varying degrees, but none of them collapsed. The rest are intact.”

Fauzan added that these promotions are also key in sending the message to travellers that only some parts of Lombok was affected, as many other tourist areas remain safe for visits.

“Although there are some cancellations, we continue to see arrivals to Lombok. It shows that (well-informed) travellers continue to come,” Fauzan said.

  • Additional reporting by Mimi Hudoyo
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