Lombok struggling to regain its shine by Andi Abdussalam

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Lombok Island of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Province, which has been crowned to become a new Bali, the countrys most popular tourist resort province, is now struggling to regain its tourism glimpse.

The government has been developing the Mandalika Special Economic Zone (KEK) in Central Lombok District as an icon of NTBs economic and tourism development.

According to Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the total investment for the development of the Mandalika KEK reached more than Rp17 trillion. "We have a total investment of Rp17 trillion for the development of Mandalika," President Director of PT ITDC Abdulbar M Mansoer noted in Mandalika last month (Nov 18).

The investment is expected to boost the development of Lombok, especially Mandalika, so that the island would regain its tourism shine after it was struck by a series of earthquakes measuring between 6 to 7 on the Richter scale during the July and August period.

The quakes greatly affected the tourism sector, particularly those in the North Lombok District. The most severe quake was experienced on Aug 5, 2018, with a 7.0-magnitude.

According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, as of Aug 23, at least 555 people were killed and 829 others were injured. Most fatalities were residents of North Lombok District areas due to their proximity to the strong earthquakes epicenter. The repeated earthquakes have also damaged 23,098 houses and led to the forced displacement of 134,236 people.

Now, the condition of Lomboks tourism has returned to normal. Hence, the Ministry of Tourism is launching a social media publication campaign on the recovery of Lombok to convince foreign tourists, so that they would not hesitate to come to Lombok again.

Head of the Sub-Directorate of Digital Communication, Strategy and Marketing, Ministry of Tourism, Aulia Chloridiany, stated in Jakarta on Tuesday (Dec 12) that his side was sending a documentary team to Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, to produce documentation on the current situation and the recovery of tourism in Lombok after the natural disaster.

"The documentary team is working in the production of photos and videos documentations that will be disseminated to social media in the Asian and European regions and the Middle East to attract foreign tourists," she added.

The documentary team, which began the journey from tourist points in the heart of the Mataram City (NTB provincial capital) to the Islamic Center and Museum, visited various tourist destinations in Lombok.

Among the points the team visited included Batu Bolang Temple, Gili Nangudan and Gili Kendis, and Marese Hill. "In these destinations, many tourists have come from abroad," she noted.

In addition, she said that Moyo Beach also turned out to still attract the attention of foreign tourists. "It was evidenced by the presence of several tourists from Europe, who came there to enjoy the beauty of the underwater and pristine beaches," Chloridiany revealed.

For this reason, the digital team will immediately distribute videos and photos of the Lombok recovery update to social media in tourist centers in various parts of the world.

It is hoped that Lombok, which has been visited by foreign tourists, will create a confidence among other prospective tourists.

"After the editing process is completed, the photos and videos will be disseminated to various social media in the prospective tourist regions. An atmosphere update will attract tourists who are interested in natural tourist destinations in NTB," she explained.

The production of videos and photos and the spread in the digital world is a form of concern for the government to improve the economy of the people through tourism.

The main hope is the return of foreign tourists visiting NTB from time to time.

"This is one form of government concern in improving the economy in NTB through tourism. The spread of Lombok Recovery documentary videos and photographs and foreign tourist visits to NTB are expected to return to normal and continue to increase later," she asserted.

Meanwhile, the East Lombok District Tourism Office is also struggling to revive the tourism sector after the earthquakes.

The Tourism Office is focused on efforts to change the negative view of the people who consider that natural disasters had occurred due to the development of the tourism industry.

"Our top priority is to change the negative outlook of the people. After that, we can start from the technical side," said Secretary of the East Lombok District Tourism Office, Mertawi, in East Lombok on Monday (Dec 3).

The office has designed various programs to restore the tourism sector. But the first thing it will do is to create a positive view of the community so as not to scapegoat tourism as the cause of the disaster.

These efforts will be discussed with community and religious leaders as well as the tourism stakeholders.

Mertawi added that the main thing that needed to be discussed was how to objectively design the world of tourism. "So, we want to restore the tourism sector with a bottom-up approach, absorbing aspirations from the lower level. If we do not take a cultural approach, it will be difficult to implement. I think the effort only takes two months, and then we will start making the efforts from the technical aspect," he pointed out.

Source: ANTARA News

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