The government of Indonesia is upbeat that Lombok’s winning of an award as one of the world’s best halal tourist destinations will significantly increase the number of Muslim tourists.
The government is upbeat that Lombok’s winning of an award as one of the world’s best halal tourist destinations will significantly increase the number of foreign tourists visiting the province of West Nusa Tenggara.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the local government should capitalize on the award to attract tourists, especially from the Middle East.
“We can use this Halal Award distinction as a starting point to develop a unique identity for Lombok and the entire NTB region. If we want Lombok to become a major destination for foreign travelers, it has to be able to stand on its own. The universality of the halal tourism distinction can help a lot,” Arief said at the Tourism Ministry on Monday.
Lombok, the major tourist destination of NTB, won “The World’s Best Halal Honeymoon Destination” at the 2015 World Halal Travel Awards in Dubai recently. The award, Minister Arief said, put the province on the radar of global travelers.
Arief added that the popularity of NTB as a destination specifically for Muslim visitors should be harnessed to accommodate those tourists’ preferences and culture. Specifically, the minister highlighted the tendency of Middle Eastern travelers to vacation with their families and go on family outings after 9 p.m.
He also encouraged tourism workers to be instructed in foreign languages like Arabic and Mandarin. The bulk of foreign travelers coming to Lombok and the province of NTB comes from Malaysia, Singapore, the Middle East and China.
“We can tap into the Muslim traveler market even further if we can prepare the region to better accommodate them. I want to see at least 1.5 million foreign visitors visiting Lombok and NTB in 2016: 50 percent more than the 1 million we saw in 2015,” Arief added.
Meanwhile, NTB Governor M. Zainal Majdi noted that a series of sporting and cultural events would also be held in the province to commemorate the 201 years since the Mt. Tambora eruption, which resulted in climate patterns so bizarre that the following year, 1816, was dubbed the “year without summer”.