The opening of Lombok International Airport, together with the visit of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and state cabinet ministers from 19 – 21 October, has put Lombok in the spotlight for investment and development as Indonesia’s second main tourism destination.
At the Presidential visit, Coordinating Minister Hatta Rajasa said that the Mandalika resort development project was in line with the Accelerated Indonesian Economic Development Master Plan (MPPPEI), which places Bali and Nusa Tenggara as main gateways for tourism.
The construction of the new airport is a direct attempt by the national and provincial governments to open Lombok up to international travellers and, together with the “Visit Lombok Sumbawa 2012” campaign hopes to attract 1 million visitors to the island in the next two years.
Lombok International Airport (LIA) is reported to be able to handle larger aircraft, such as Boeing 747 and Airbus 320, and is designed to handle up to 3 million passengers per year.
At the centre of this development attention is the Mandalika resort area, which was previously slated for a US $600 million development by United Arab Emirates group, Emaar Properties.
The Mandalika resort area spans 1,175 hectares and is located on the south coast of Lombok, less than 30 minutes drive from the new international airport. Its coastline, facing the Indian Ocean, boasts 7.5 kilometres of fine white-sand beaches and unpolluted azure waters. The area is slated to become Indonesia’s new premier destination.