In the 12-month period before the COVID-19 pandemic grounded international flights around the world, Lombok received a million tourists and recorded 20% year-on-year growth. Arief Yahya, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism, considers Lombok to have the fastest growing tourism market in the region and development has quickened in recent years courtesy of a new international airport catering to overseas visitors from Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. Various private and government-backed resort projects have opened for business, while more are in the pipeline. Lombok offers a rare chance for investors to buy into a market that is on a steep upward curve, yet remains accessibly priced. And with much of the land largely undeveloped, the only limitation is your imagination.
Window of Opportunity
In recent years, the Indonesian government has realised Lombok’s huge potential and started to promote the island as one of the country’s primary tourist destinations. Its US$3 billion Mandalika Project promises to be the jewel in the crown, but the provincial government has also been actively introducing tourism projects and promotional activities to attract more visitors.
16 Million Tourists Per Year
Indonesia welcomed more than 16 million tourists in 2019, but more than a third of them almost exclusively visited Bali. The national government is keen to attract tourists to some of it other 17,000 islands and Lombok features prominently on its “10 New Balis” blueprint.
Considered one of the five most attractive emerging investment locations in Asia by ‘Property Report’, Lombok is situated between the tourism hotspots of Bali and Komodo Island. Blessed with spectacular natural beauty, Lombok’s beaches are considerably less crowded than its nearby neighbours. Mount Rinjani meanwhile is not only the second highest volcano in Indonesia, but also offers one of the planet’s most spectacular climbs.
Accessible Alternative to Bali
Lombok’s growth is mostly attributable to the island being positioned as an alternative holiday destination to Bali. As its neighbour faces challenges associated to over-tourism, investors are turning to Lombok for more reasonably priced land and property investment opportunities.
Low Entry Prices
While land prices in Bali have jumped in just four years from less than US$300 per square metre to more than $1,000, Lombok is still early in its development process. Prices on the island have increased more than 200 percent in that same four-year period, yet still list for as little as US$230 per square-metre. The opportunities are plentiful.
Development was for many years almost exclusively concentrated along the north-western coastline, where Lombok’s most popular destinations are situated: the famous Gili islands of Meno, Air and Trawangan. However, recent years have seen the southern coast witnessing a surge in development with the US$3bn Mandalika Project its showpiece and the international airport in Praya making the coastal city of Kuta suddenly all the more accessible.
THE GREEN FUTURE
The development of the US$3billion Mandalika Resort in Kuta Bay, South Lombok, is a major driver in increasing land values. Mixing natural beauty with cultural authenticity and international attractions, Mandalika promises to to become one of Indonesia's most popular tourist destinations in the coming years. A vast expanse of tourism-related mixed-use facilities ranging from resorts to golf course, motorsports to theme parks, Mandalika is positioned as an ecotourism destination. Actively incorporating environmentally friendly technologies such as solar farms and SWRO plants, it has also committed to retaining more than 51% of its +1000 hectares as dedicated “green space”.
Three Reasons to Invest in Lombok
Location is often cited as the main determining factor in the value of any given property. The same concept applies when considering Indonesia’s 17,000 islands. This community-driven islet is just a couple of hours from Singapore and a half-hour from Bali. Lombok boasts a climate that seldom sees temperatures rise above 33C or drop below 21C – the perfect weather for exploring its stunning beaches, diving in clear, fish-filled oceans, and enjoying a true tropical paradise. Holiday makers particularly enjoy the famous Gili Islands, while the mighty Mount Rinjani attracts hikers and surfers visit for Desert Point, which boasts some of the best barrels in the world.
SOCIAL & ECONOMIC STRENGTH
Indonesia has experienced consistent economic growth of between 5-6% year-on-year since 2010 and this is expected to continue in years to come. The rising domestic demand of Indonesian investors and tourists is an additional factor. The country’s emerging middle class is creating a boom for consumer companies across many industries, from hotels and airlines to cars and mobile phones. This is boosting domestic wealth, which is finding its way into the property market in the form of land purchases and developments.
Overflow from other popular tourism markets completes the picture. The closest comparable market is Bali, which is now widely considered over-developed and overpriced. Other regional markets, such as Koh Samui and Phuket in Thailand, also contribute, as do the high prices in developed markets such as Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Indonesia continues to forge ahead as one of the world’s largest democracies, with very few tensions within the existing political power structures. This ensures politics is unlikely to impede significant reforms and economic growth. President Joko Widodo was elected to office in 2014 and was successfully re-elected in 2019.