Douglas becomes aware of the series of earthquakes that struck Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, six months ago when he determined to visit the island throughout his six-week vacation. As a local of California within the United States, the 30-yr-vintage digital sales clerk isn’t any stranger to tremors.
“In terms of fear of no longer wanting to come back right here, in which we stay we have earthquakes very regularly, however, we’ve specific constructing systems so while an earthquake takes place, less harm is accomplished,” Douglas, who did no longer desire to expose his complete name, stated whilst sitting by way of the beach on Gili Trawangan, a small island off the coast of Lombok.
Gili Trawangan, a popular tourist spot at the side of its neighboring islands of Gili Meno and Gili Air, became devastated after the 7.0-significance earthquake that hit Lombok on Aug. Five the general public of the buildings at the island destroyed.
When The Jakarta Post visited the island lately, production employees have been busy rebuilding the hotels. Small piles of debris left from the earthquake were nevertheless seen in the corners of the island.
The island was regarded as vacant. Beachside cafes, bicycle rentals, and scuba diving spots have been broadly speaking abandoned as their proprietors seemed round, hoping to draw the few passersby.
“We have been going across the Gilis for nearly a month now […] We had been in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam, but this has been the nicest region,” Douglas, who turned into traveling with his 30-year-antique girlfriend Rebecca, said. “I assume the island is likewise trying to change its image from simply cheap partying [into] more approximately enjoying nature.”
Rebecca agreed with Douglas, announcing they determined to spend quite a little time inside the Gilis because it became clean for them as foreigners to travel there.
“This location is a good deal nicer than everywhere else [similar we have visited],” Rebecca added. “We are already speaking to me about coming returned here, and we’re no longer even finished with this ride.”
The variety of vacationers in Lombok plummeted following the earthquake. The Tourism Ministry reported that between September and December 2018, the discern dropped through a whopping sixty-six percent compared to the identical period the yr before.
The ministry’s facts suggest that earlier than the earthquake, up to ten 000 overseas travelers arrived at Lombok Praya International Airport every month. After the earthquake, the parent fell to a few,000.
According to Emanuel Prasodjo, standard supervisor for Aston Sunset Beach in Gili Trawangan, the common range of vacationers arriving at the island each day earlier than the earthquake ought to reach three 000 people. Now, that wide variety is around 900.
“The overseas travelers who come here say they may be now not frightened of earthquakes as a whole lot as they are of terrorists. However, we count on home travelers who are still apprehensive by using the catastrophe,” stated Emanuel.
The Post observed almost no local travelers in Gili Trawangan and other famous destinations together with Mandalika Beach, Merese Hill, and Seger Hill Beach.
The Tourism Ministry confirmed that the number of home travelers visiting Lombok had dropped notably, though it has not released the legit facts.
Emanuel recalled that tourism employees on Gili Trawangan began evacuating guests from the island when they obtained a tsunami caution through a textual content message from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) last August. No siren or emergency bells had been heard beforehand, he stated.
“Even now, months after the earthquakes, we’ve got not received any catastrophe mitigation schooling from the central authorities,” he introduced. “Understandably, that [August’s earthquake] changed into the maximum significant catastrophe we have ever had right here. However, we have had many smaller earthquakes in preceding years.” By February, around 50 percent of the five hundred lodges and eating places on Gili Trawangan had returned to ordinary operations.
Tourism Ministry assistant for worldwide advertising Nia Niscaya said the Lombok earthquake, alongside the earthquake and tsunami in Central Sulawesi in September and the Lion Air crash in October,- had substantially affected Indonesia’s vacationer numbers in 2018.
On the pinnacle of that, Indonesia also saw the eruptions of Mount Anak Krakatau inside the Sunda Strait, Mount Agung in Bali, and the Banten tsunami inside the same yr.
“We had a target to draw 17 million global travelers final 12 months but only accomplished 15.8 million,” Nia stated at a press conference. “This yr, but we believe we can entice 20 million vacationers, as tough as that can be to reach.”
The government, she said, had rolled out several measures to sell Lombok and different locations in Indonesia following the collection of failures, consisting of supplying all-in-one tourist applications, maximizing advertising in Indonesia’s tourism hubs the world over, and encouraging travelers from neighboring international locations to visit Indonesia.
“People in neighboring countries have geographical and cultural proximity to us, so it is a way less complicated for us to reach out to them, and it is inexpensive for them to go to our locations,” Nia brought.