Douglas changed into aware of the series of earthquakes that struck Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, six months in the past while he determined to go to the island in the course of his six-week holiday.
As a local of California in the United States, the 30-yr-old electronic salesclerk isn’t any stranger to tremors.
“In terms of worry of now not trying to return here, where we live we’ve earthquakes very regularly, however, we’ve got unique constructing structures so whilst an earthquake happens, much less damage is performed,” Douglas, who did not want to show his full name, stated even as sitting via the seaside on Gili Trawangan, a small island off the coast of Lombok.
Gili Trawangan, a popular tourist spot alongside its neighboring islands of Gili Meno and Gili Air, was left devastated after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Lombok on Aug. Five, with the general public of the buildings at the island destroyed.
When The Jakarta Post visited the island these days, production employees have been busy rebuilding the inns. Small piles of particles left from the earthquake were still visible in the corners of the island.
The island regarded vacant. Beachside cafes, bicycle rentals, and scuba diving spots have been often abandoned as their owners looked around, hoping to draw the few passersby.
“We were going across the Gilis for nearly a month now […] We were inside the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam but this has been the nicest area,” Douglas, who turned into traveling with his 30-yr-antique girlfriend Rebecca, stated. “I assume the island is also seeking to alternate its image from simply reasonably-priced partying [into] greater about playing nature.”
Rebecca agreed with Douglas, announcing they determined to spend plenty of time inside the Gilis as it turned into clean for them as foreigners to journey there.
“This place is a lot nicer than everywhere else [similar we have visited],” Rebecca added. “We are already speaking me about coming back here and we’re not even finished with this ride.”
The number of vacationers in Lombok plummeted following the earthquake. The Tourism Ministry reported that among September and December 2018, the determine dropped by means of a whopping sixty-six percentage in comparison to the equal period the year before.
The ministry’s facts indicate that earlier than the earthquake up to 10,000 foreign vacationers arrived at Lombok Praya International Airport each month. After the earthquake, the parent fell to three,000.
According to Emanuel Prasodjo, well-known supervisor for Aston Sunset Beach in Gili Trawangan, the average range of vacationers arriving on the island every day before the earthquake ought to reach 3,000 people. Now, that wide variety is round 900.
“The foreign travelers who come here say they may be now not afraid of earthquakes as tons as they’re of terrorists, but we assume home tourists are nevertheless worried via the catastrophe,” said Emanuel.
In Gili Trawangan, and other famous destinations such as Mandalika Beach, Merese Hill, and Seger Hill Beach, the Post determined nearly no local tourists.
The Tourism Ministry showed the variety of domestic travelers touring Lombok had dropped drastically, even though it has not launched the authentic information.
Emanuel recalled that tourism people on Gili Trawangan started evacuating guests from the island after they obtained a tsunami caution via a textual content message from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) remaining August. No siren or emergency bells had been heard beforehand, he stated.
“Even now, months after the earthquakes, we have not acquired any disaster mitigation schooling from the principal government,” he introduced. “Understandably, that [August’s earthquake] turned into the most enormous catastrophe we’ve ever had here, but we’ve got had many smaller earthquakes in previous years.”
By February, around 50 percent of the five hundred inns and eating places on Gili Trawangan had lower back to regular operations.
Tourism Ministry assistant for international advertising and marketing Nia Niscaya said the Lombok earthquake, in conjunction with the earthquake and tsunami in Central Sulawesi in September and the Lion Air crash in October, had greatly affected Indonesia’s traveler numbers in 2018.
On the pinnacle of that, Indonesia also saw the eruptions of Mount Anak Krakatau within the Sunda Strait, Mount Agung in Bali and the Banten tsunami in the same yr.
“We had a goal to draw 17 million worldwide tourists a final year, however, simplest carried out 15.8 million,” Nia stated at a press convention. “This 12 months, but, we believe we can attract 20 million travelers, as hard as that may be to reach.”
The authorities, she said, had rolled out a whole lot of measures to sell Lombok and different destinations in Indonesia following the collection of disasters, inclusive of via imparting all-in-one traveler applications, maximizing promoting in Indonesia’s tourism hubs the world over in addition to encouraging tourists from neighboring international locations to go to Indonesia.
“People in neighboring countries have geographical and cultural proximity to us, so it’s far ways simpler for us to attain out to them and it’s miles cheaper for them to go to our locations,” Nia introduced.