Lombok, the New Bali: How Indonesia Will Make it Happen
This is the third out of three blog posts explaining why and how Lombok is becoming the new Bali. Today we will talk about Lombok’s future.
So as we said in the two previous blogs of the series, Lombok has incredible nature and culture. Volcanoes, waterfalls, coral gardens, pristine beaches, plantations, festivals, temples and an atmosphere similar to Bali 20 years ago. Lombok has nothing to be jealous of. All these factors increased Lombok’s popularity amongst travellers. But it seems that everyone put efforts to give to Lombok the success it deserves. We saw why Lombok could become the new Bali, today we’ll see how it will happen.
10 priority tourism zones
President Joko Widodo’s government issued a list of 10 destinations to become “new Balis”. The goal is not to compete with Bali’s popularity but to boost tourism in other parts of Indonesia as well. This list includes big destinations like Wakatobi, Labuan Bajo and Mount Bromo. Three of these destinations are considered as “priorities” for development and are Lake Toba, Borobudur temple and Mandalika area in Lombok.
This will lead with infrastructures development, easier transport and less strict investment regulations. The destination aims to become an eco-tourism example in Indonesia using environmentally friendly technologies. The Mandalika area will also be promoted both locally and internationally to support tourism development in the South region of Lombok.
New AirAsia hub in Lombok
In May 2019, AirAsia officiated its newest hub on Lombok. It is the fifth one after Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya and Bali. This will facilitate transport to the island, with direct international connections with Perth in Australia and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Domestic destinations such as Jakarta, Bali, and Jogjakarta will also connect with Lombok.
“We are very pleased to inaugurate our newest hub here in Lombok, a destination with rich tourism charms, and one that holds a special place in many people’s hearts. Today’s announcement will not only enhance international and domestic connectivity, but also create local job opportunities, stimulate tourism growth, and contribute to Lombok’s vitally important visitor economy”, said AirAsia Indonesia’s CEO Dendy Kurniawan.
Moto Grand Prix in 2021
It has been officially confirmed by President Jokowi and Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) that Lombok will host the MotoGP in 2021. This is a world-class motor racing event and a huge amount of visitors are expected to attend. Last MotoGP held in Indonesia was over two decades ago in Java, but this time it will take place in the Mandalika tourism resort on the southern coast of Lombok.
The plans include a 4.32km, 19-corner racing circuit on roads that will later be used by the general public. Infrastructure will be built to welcome a large number of expected visitors, like a terminal for ferries and high-speed boats.
With over 100 million motorcycles and 85% of the population owning a motorbike, Indonesia has the biggest fanbase for MotoGP. This event is undoubtedly one of the biggest events in Lombok’s history.
The infatuation from cruises companies
Lombok is already a popular destination for cruises through the Indonesian archipelago, often combined with Komodo National Park and Raja Ampat.
Lombok is slowly attracting more and more of these liners, mostly from Australia. This year, Lombok is scheduled to welcome 26 cruise ships. Each floating hotel carries around 1,500 to 2,000 passengers, so the effects of this increase can be very big for Lombok’s economy. The administration is really putting effort to push this type of tourism by organising tours and softening the regulations for the passengers. The smallest sailing boats and yachts will also benefit from the new regulations, as it’s all part of the endeavour of making Lombok a new Bali.
All these factors will lead Lombok to step up on Indonesia’s main destinations scene. The country has big plans for the island, and Lombok really deserves it. From incredible nature both on land and underwater to rich culture and traditional events, Lombok is definitely an underrated gem.
Some may get concerns about Lombok becoming as touristy as Bali when clearly its laid-back atmosphere is one of its assets. Yet Lalu Muhammad Faozal, head of West Nusa Tenggara tourism agency declared that all developments will respect Lombok’s real essence, a family-friendly destination. Tourism in Lombok is definitely going to face a major growth over the next years, yet Lombok will still have authentic destinations for the adventure travellers.
Our series of three blogs about Lombok is now over, we tried to give you all the keys to understand Lombok’s current situation and future. You can read about how to get to Lombok here.
Now that you know everything about Lombok, it is up to you to either visit the island now or later, depending on what you are after.
Would you expect Lombok to be an untouched, adventure destination?
Or would you like it to be an easier and tourist-friendly island?
Let us know in the comments below your visions about Lombok, the new Bali!
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Thank you for reading and embrace the journey!
Written by Virginie Fauquant