The Jakarta Post
The Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is set to hold a meeting with representatives of a visiting Saudi Arabian delegation to discuss a possible partnership for the development of halal tourism in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).
The delegation, which will accompany King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in his visit to Bali from March 4 to March 9, will visit the Mandalika tourist destination in Lombok, an island that won a status as Favorite Halal Tourism Destination 2016, and explore possible tourism investments in the area.
“There will be a business meeting on tourism between the ITDC and the Saudi Arabian delegation,” said Hiramsyah S. Thaib, head of the Working Group for the Acceleration of the Development of 10 Prioritized Tourism Destinations, in a recent interview as quoted by tribunnews.com on Sunday.
Hiramsyah said King Salman’s visit to Bali should trigger enthusiasm among tourism business players, including those in Lombok, and therefore could become a prime tourist destination comparable to Bali, both in terms of infrastructure and security.
He said Lombok would have five star-plus hotels after the construction of the Mandalika area is completed.
“Information we have received from the Foreign Affairs Ministry says our request for the scheduling of the Saudi Arabian delegation’s visit to Lombok as a halal tourism destination has been approved by the kingdom,” said Hiramsyah.
Tourism Ministry data show that roughly two million tourists from Middle Eastern countries visited Indonesia in 2016. The number is expected to increase to four million tourists in 2018. (rdi/ebf)