Spotlight on Lombok — As a top Halal travel destination in Indonesia


Indonesia highlighted Lombok’s recovery from July earthquakes by giving participants at ITB-Asia’s Muslim Travel Pavilion a taste of Lombok’s featured attractions. Held in Singapore, the ITB-Asia’s Muslim Travel Pavilion celebrated its inaugural year at ITB-Asia. The pavilion hosted an assortment of panel discussions on Halal travel, and offered participants a variety of country showcases.

Indonesia’s destination showcase inspired with the tagline “Rise Lombok,” which is part of a larger effort to put the spotlight on Lombok’s position as a top Halal travel destination after emerging from recent earthquakes. Communicating to the world that Lombok is safe for tourists and open for business, the “Rise Lombok” campaign focuses on key Lombok attractions that are already welcoming visitors.

Riyanto Sofyan, chairman of the Team for Accelerated Development of Halal Tourism of the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, believes that now is the time to get the word out about Lombok’s vitality.

“We’re letting the world know that Lombok is back, with many events scheduled for this month as well as the foreseeable future. We’re also reminding tourists that Lombok’s attractions are enhanced by its beautiful scenery, a trove of adventure activities, and too many cultural immersion opportunities to count.”

Sofyan notes that the Ministry of Tourism is spreading its message far and wide. “In order to spread the word, we’re organizing Fam trips to Lombok for travel agents and influencers targeting the GCC, including representatives from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.”

Voluntourism is also targeted by Sofyan’s team at the Ministry of Tourism. “We also plan on incorporating voluntourism as part of our tourism offerings, encouraging socially responsible travellers to visit areas impacted by earthquakes, and witness, as well as possibly join, ongoing recovery efforts.”

Billing Lombok and other settings as part of the Indonesia Destination Showcase, Sofyan detailed the pairing of Muslim tourist source countries with Halal destinations within Indonesia.

For example, travelers from the GCC prefer natural and scenic destinations, including mountainous and beach settings. GCC tourists also appreciate resorts that offer spa and shopping opportunities, while featuring four and five-star accommodations along with Middle Eastern cuisine. Lombok is an ideal destination for travelers from the GCC, who may also enjoy trips to neighboring West Nusa Tenggara, Jakarta, West Java, and West Sumatera.

For water sports adventurers, Lombok offers breathtakingly scenery and venues for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. A haven for surfers and paragliders, Lombok hosted a paragliding championship in August. For athletes interested in a great event with a postcard worthy backdrop, Lombok’s annual Mekaki Marathon combines running and nature tourism.

The marathon’s course runs along Lombok’s stunning Mekaki Beach, which, unlike other beaches in Lombok, is relatively unknown to both visitors and locals alike. Intended to introduce the beauty of the Mekaki Beach to a wider audience, this year’s marathon is held on Oct. 28.

In addition to Mekaki beach, Lombok’s Tanjung Aan Beach, Kuta Beach, Gilis Beach, and adjacent waterfronts are havens for marine tourism. Recent marine tourism events include Sail Moyo Tambora 2018, a part Sail Indonesia, which offered sailing teams a rally that stretched from Darwin to Indonesia and featured visits to several ports across the archipelago. This year’s rally was a testament to the resilient spirit of Lombok, as the event took place just months after the earthquakes rocked the island.

Winning the 2015 awards for Best Halal Tourism Destination and the World’s Best Halal Honeymoon Destination, Lombok also features unique tourism villages, providing visitors with the experience of living as a local.

Visitors to tourist villages participate in rice and coffee cultivation and learn how to make traditional handicrafts as well as indigenous foods.

Lombok’s award-winning tourism opportunities come as no surprise to Indonesian Tourism Minister, Arief Yahya, who sees this island province of West Nusa Tenggara as a jewel in Indonesia’s broad and impactful Halal tourism economy.

“Indonesia is ready to greet tourists, especially Muslim tourists. From the infrastructure, ecosystem, marketing channels, to attractions, Indonesia is prepared. Halal Tourism destinations will always be growing in Indonesia. All aspects of the destinations have met the requirements for Halal Tourism to grow exponentially. The market response is very good so that investment keeps flowing, supported with conducive and solid infrastructure.”

In line with the theme of “Rise Lombok” and the unified efforts to speed recovery on the island, Lombok hosted a Halal tourism conference entitled "Strengthening Islamic Economy through Halal Tourism: Challenges, Opportunities, and Prospects.”

Indonesia aims to attract 5 million Muslim visitors by 2019, which will represent a huge portion of Indonesia’s target of 20 million international visitors by 2019. 9% of Indonesia’s targeted visitors are expected to arrive from the GCC. It is also noteworthy to point out that the global Muslim market spending on travel reached an estimated $169 billion in 2016, representing 11.8% of global travel expenditure.

The Muslim tourism market is anticipated to account for $283 billion in international tourism spending by 2022 according to the State of the Islamic Economy Report 2017/2018 produced by Thomson Reuters in collaboration with DinarStandard. — SG