International visitors are providing a surge of hope for the Indonesian island as it recovers from devastating earthquakes.
Following the devastating earthquakes, tsunami and countless aftershocks that hit the north of Lombok last August, the tourism business on the popular Indonesian island is already picking up again.
Inbound tourism stakeholders think that by the peak season this year business will reach between 60% and 80% of pre-disaster levels, TTG Asia reports.
Emanuel Prasodjo Adji, general manager of the Aston Sunset Beach Resort on the island of Gili Trawangan, commented that before the earthquake, domestic and international arrivals to the island were between 1,000 and 3,000 people per day, depending on the season. Right now there are around 900.
Enquiries and forward bookings suggest that by the summer season business will reach 60% of the hotel’s summer 2017 performance.
Wayan Sudiarta, general manager of the Katamaran Hotel & Resort in the northwest of Lombok added: “Despite the disaster, last year we managed to achieve an average occupancy of 80%, which was 10% lower than in 2017.”
But the NTB Guides’ Association for the West Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia estimates that full recovery could take another year or two.
“In areas like Gili, Kuta [central Lombok] and Senggigi [Lombok’s main beach strip], currently only about 20% of traffic has returned, led by the international market,” said the association’s Lalu Widianing Artha.
“International travellers are more confident. They understand that natural disasters can happen anywhere, unlike security threats such as terrorism. As soon as they see the destination [is back], the demand [will return].”
Promotional events and campaigns are planned. The Indonesia Ministry of Tourism has 30 such events in the pipeline including sales missions to key short-haul and long-haul markets as well as fam trips.
“Fam trips help bring confidence to travellers that Lombok is safe,” says Nia Niscaya, deputy head of marketing development for the region at the ministry. “There are also four festivals to promote Lombok in the country’s calendar of events this year.”