Tourism industry on Lombok island struggles to recover from earthquake
The Indonesian holiday island of Lombok is struggling to recover after a deadly magnitude seven earthquake on August 5. Aftershocks continue to shake the region. And that has a major impact on what used to be a growing tourism industry.
Reports by Silkina Ahluwalia of CGTN.
Indonesia is not stronger in the face of natural disasters. It was hit by strong earthquakes, heavy flooding and volcanic eruptions.
Lombok Island is located next to the popular tourist destination, Bali. For years, its white sand beaches have attracted millions of tourists. The Indonesian government has chosen Lombok as one of the 10 islands it focuses on for major tourism developments. But recent earthquakes that have caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage are hampering the island’s growth.
“In just three weeks, a magnitude 7 earthquake struck Lombok several times week after week. We have never experienced anything like it. It is very rare but it shows that Lombok is prone to frequent strong earthquakes. The Indonesian government needs to understand this pattern and build infrastructure capable of handling earthquakes. Tourism and Lombok’s local economy are booming, especially its agricultural industry, ”said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of the Aceh Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency.
Lombok’s vital tourism industry needs time to recover. For this to happen, the Indonesian government needs to develop a professional plan for dealing with disasters.
Evacuation measures in Lombok’s neighboring islands, Gili Trawangan, were cited as chaotic by tourists who were forced to leave when the earthquake struck.
“The impact on tourism is enormous. The industry is suffering there. Many places have been destroyed near Mount Rinjani, where many hikers and hikers go. The Gili Islands have also been hit hard. The government must quickly rebuild affected hotels, roads and public facilities to revive this thriving industry. Use local volunteers. This will give jobs to the locals, ”said tourism expert Tedjo Sikandar.
Tourism remains a crucial industry for the Indonesian economy, accounting for at least 6 percent of the country’s GDP. Improving this sector would bring more benefits to the country. The government’s goal is to have a better strategy to protect tourists in disaster prone areas.