West Nusa Tenggara: Eastern Indonesia’s next big thing

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By cultivating its natural advantages, Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara’s main island, is rapidly developing its economy and emerging as a regional hub.

For many, Lombok has become “The Unspoiled Bali” and is known as a tranquil alternative to its often hectic and crowded neighbor. The Gili Islands in particular, off the coast of Lombok, have become major drawcards for visitors seeking a relaxing, eco-tourism experience on its pristine, car-free shores.

West Nusa Tenggara: Eastern Indonesia’s next big thing

The numbers speak for themselves, as the province’s youthful governor, Muhammad Zainul Majdi, explains, “In 2008, NTB received 480,000 tourists, and then by 2013, we reached 1 million tourist arrivals. In the year of 2016, we have already achieved 2 million tourists. As we can see, the growth accelerates very quickly under the right conditions.”

Perhaps due to the success of Lombok’s domestic efforts, the island has been incorporated into the national tourism development strategy (see page 7). Priority zones are being developed to demonstrate that the country of 17,000 islands has more than Bali to offer foreign visitors.

To this end, a special economic zone has been established on the idyllic virgin island of Mandalika. With incentives to invest and tax breaks, it is expected that the island will quickly transform into a popular area for travelers as facilities are put in place.

“Our Mandalika new Special Economic Zone is one of the 10 main destinations for tourism development beyond Bali. Our geostrategic position in terms of sailing makes it possible to be developed as a global hub, especially in the northern area of Lombok”, says Governor Majdi.

On top of grassroots economic empowerment, Lombok is set to play a bigger role in the nation’s sea-based connectivity. Through developing port locations along the Lombok Strait it is possible to drastically cut down shipping costs and improve the movement of merchant marine vessels.

These favorable conditions have created investment opportunities for business people interested in cashing in on Indonesia’s ever growing sea transport and logistics sector. Once such site exists in the island’s north. Plans are afoot to provide a number of fiscal advantages for investors and business partners in developing this potentially lucrative maritime hub.

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