The Jakarta Post
French hotel group AccorHotels on Saturday held a groundbreaking ceremony for its Pullman hotel in Mandalika, West Nusa Tenggara, as Vice President Jusuf Kalla called for faster infrastructure development in the area, which has been designated as a special economic zone.
The French hotel operator is one of four investors that have announced plans to build five-star hotels in Mandalika. The three others are Jiva Samudera Biru (JSB) Indonesia, French-based hotel chain Club Med and Lee's from South Korea.
State-owned Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) confirmed that AccorHotels and Club Med had signed contracts, while the two others had only signed memorandums of understanding (MoU).
'We are really trying to get them [the ones signing MoUs] to also build the hotels and for JSB to cooperate with Intercontinental to operate the hotel,' ITDC director for business and development Edwin Darmasetiawan told the Jakarta Post, adding that JSB was planning to build two hotels.
Construction of the Pullman hotel is estimated to cost around Rp 400 billion (US$28.75 million), set to come from the company's own funds.
Edwin said JSB would also build a convention center for an undisclosed investment sum. Development of the hotels, apart from the Pullman one, is slated to start next year and finish within two-and-a-half years.
Mandalika, located in the southern part of Lombok island, is a 20-minute drive from Lombok International Airport (LOP). It boasts 7.5 kilometers of Indian Ocean beaches that offer diving, snorkeling and fishing sites.
ITDC, which was assigned by the government to develop the area in 2008 and granted the right to manage around 1,035 hectares of land, claimed to make it easier for investors to acquire land-use rights.
Edwin previously said the area would feature hotels, a marina, a golf course, villas and a convention hall.
The development of the area is part of the government's efforts to boost foreign tourist arrivals to 20 million per year by 2019 from around 10 million annual visits at present.
ITDC president director Abdulbar M Mansoer said the company was planning to have 20 starred hotels built within 20 years.
'We have four five-stars hotels for the start, and we have prepared for the infrastructure,' he said.
Apart from hotels, the ITDC revealed that it had entered into cooperation with US-based company EBD Bauer to convert seawater into clean water in a bid to improve access to clean water to the area.
The estimated total cost required for the whole infrastructure is Rp 2.1 trillion.
So far, the firm has built 4 km of roads in the Tanjung Aan area.
Meanwhile, Kalla, who was present at the groundbreaking ceremony, called for faster development of the special economic zone.
He stated that infrastructure development in the area, such as airport and water access, had improved compared to the situation around 25 years ago.
'So I ask to expedite it [the development],' he said, as quoted by the Antara news agency.
He also added that the conditions in Mandalika were better compared to the initial development of Nusa Dua, Bali, in the past. Kalla was accompanied by Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, among others. (fsu)
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