The Jakarta Post
Spectacular view: Mandalika boasts a long, wide stretch of beautiful white sandy beaches facing the glistening Indian Ocean against a background of lush green hills and mesmerizing landscapes. (Tourism Indonesia/-)
Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) is gearing up for the world-class MotoGP motor racing event in 2021, which is expected to boost tourism on the island.
“We are confident that the MotoGP would be an amazing opportunity to lift up tourism in Lombok and Sumbawa,” Awanadhi Aswinabawa, chairman of the Indonesian Tourism Association’s (GIPI) NTB chapter, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Lombok and Sumbawa are NTB’s two largest islands. The province is also home to 278 small islands known as the Gilis.
Although the racing event will take place on Lombok Island, Awanadhi said it would also help boost tourism in other parts of NTB.
“It would positively impact tourism development in Lombok and Sumbawa, as well as serve as an amazing economic boost for the province. And in the end, it will also help increase the quality of our tourism services,” he said.
The MotoGP will be held at a new circuit in Lombok's Mandalika Special Economic Zone. It would be the third time for Indonesia to host the international race, after two consecutive MotoGP stints at the Sentul International Circuit in Bogor, West Java, in 1996 and 1997.
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Ricky Baheramsjah, head of investment and marketing at the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), said the MotoGP would be a very powerful marketing tool to promote Lombok as a tourist destination.
“A race like the MotoGP is watched by over 400 million people worldwide. And that is a very powerful marketing tool for us,” Ricky told the Post on the sidelines of the recent Island Tourism Forum in Mataram.
The 2021 MotoGP is expected to draw at least 120,000 onsite spectators and be broadcast to 428 million homes across 207 countries, the brand itself currently has at least 23.5 million social media followers and 85 million website visitors.
As it reaches many people, Ricky said the MotoGP was a precious opportunity to tell the world about Lombok and its culture and tourist destinations.
“We should tell them that Lombok is not only about the MotoGP. Lombok is great. Lombok is beautiful. And hopefully, they will come again, either to attend the next race or for a vacation,” Ricky added.
The ITDC is a state-owned company that sealed the deal with Dorna Sport’s MotoGP for a slot in the 2021 season. The deal includes hosting the race as well as developing a circuit.
A 4.32-kilometer street circuit is set to be built as part of efforts to turn Mandalika into a world-class tourist destination. For the construction, the ITDC is collaborating with Vinci Construction Grand Projects (VCGP), which also acts as the project's investor. A US$1 billion deal with VCGP was signed in August last year, which includes over 15 years of development.
Supporting facilities will also be developed within the circuit complex, such as hotels and a hospital.
Aside from the MotoGP, the circuit is expected to host other annual races as well. In its first year, it is expected to host at least two races. Meanwhile starting in 2023, it can potentially host around eight races per year. (kes)