Lombok is gearing up to host its first post-pandemic mega international motorbike race at its brand new 4.3km Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit next week, a warm-up event to MotoGP 2022 and eyed as a launchpad for the revival of tourism in the destination.
The World Superbike (WSBK) will take place from November 19-21, and all preparations are completed for the event, according to Sandiaga Uno, minister of tourism and creative economy, who conducted a site visit.
The government has issued Covid-19 health and safety guidelines to the organiser and limited the three-day WSBK event to 25,000 spectators.
Sandiaga said he has also seen the crowd simulation for crowd control management by the local police, armed forces and the Covid-19 task force to prevent a new virus wave.
The minister said the event is important for the tourism and creative economic sector, particularly for West Nusa Tenggara (NTB). Moreover, Mandalika is one of the country’s five super priority tourism destinations, he added.
The event is expected to provide a momentum boost to the promotion of the tourism and creative economy, particularly that of NTB, as well as attract international special interest travellers to visit Indonesia, now that the international border is open, he said.
Aiming to capture that momentum too is the local Lombok community. As soon as movement curbs were eased last month, the West Lombok Tourism Office and the tourism community kicked off a series of activities, such as cultural performances, creative economic and home industry exhibitions, food festival, as well as outdoor activities and games for families in the Senggigi area.
Saiful Ahkam, head of West Lombok Tourism Office, said the WSBK event serves as a catalyst to motivate the local industry to get back on their feet and organise activities to attract travellers – starting from the local Lombok residents to the neighbouring islands and eventually, international travellers when international traffic returns.
Saiful said: “We started a couple of weeks back with a pedestrian acoustic performance to attract passers-by. Hotels organised staycation programmes with festivals and games to attract families, and the response has been great. Some hotels have reported 100 per cent occupancies during the weekends.”
While the WSBK event is located in Central Lombok, Saiful hopes the activities in West Lombok would attract visitors to the Senggigi area.
“Although people’s focus will be on WSBK during the event, West Lombok Tourism Office will enliven Senggigi with various interesting events (to) attract visitors to stay in Senggigi,” Saiful said.
Awan Aswinabawa, owner of A&T Holidays Lombok, said: “West Lombok has set an example for tourism stakeholders that even with limited budgets, they can restart their businesses by working hand-in-hand to maximise the momentum of international events (held in Indonesia). I do hope that other regions will follow suit and that Lombok shines again.”