Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, is projected to lose some 100,000 tourists this year because of a series of earthquakes that hit the resort island earlier this month, according to Tourism Minister Arif Yahya.
He added that Bali had lost about 1 million tourists within six months following the eruption of Mount Agung, which prompted several countries to issue travel warnings issued and forced Ngurah Rai International Airport to close several times in response to the spread of volcanic debris.
Bali receives some 6 million tourists annually, while Lombok attracts about 1 million, he said.
“I project that the loss of tourists in Lombok will follow the same pattern as in Bali, with a ratio of one to six. Lombok will start recovering in early September, while the recovery process will take six months,” said Arif in Sanur, Bali, on Thursday after opening the 2018 Sanur Village Festival.
He assured that preparations for the IMF-World Bank Meeting in Bali, which is scheduled for October, was running smoothly.
He added that tourist arrivals in Lombok was at 4,500 tourists per day, or 90 percent of the normal 5,000 arrivals per day.
Local organizers of the IMF-World Bank Meeting have prepared 60 tourism packages, 33 of which are for Bali and four or five packages for Lombok.
“But for tourist packages to Lombok, we have to offer them again to participants of the IMF-World Bank Meeting,” he said, adding that the government would encourage the immediate renovation of damaged facilities, particularly for one-story buildings. (bbn)