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Lombok tourism struggles to bounce back

Although four prime destinations in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), have resumed operations, tourists are few and far between on the island.

The recreational areas of Rinjani, Senggigi, Mandalika and the three Gili Islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air) reopened for tourists on June 27.

Lalu Moh Faozal, head of the NTB Tourism Agency, said the low number of tourists coming to the area was due to the travel restrictions.

“We cannot force it. Although tourism activities have started again, it is difficult to go back to normal,” Faozal said as quoted by kompas.com.

He said that, while there had been an increase in tourist arrivals at NTB’s airports, people were still reluctant to visit destinations due to travel requirements as well as fear of contracting the disease.

The three Gili Islands had been closed for tourists to curb the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with a regulation issued by NTB Governor Zulkieflimansyah. The three small islets to the northwest of Lombok Island were among the most popular spots for tourists in Indonesia. A paradise for divers and snorkelers, the islets also cater to those who long for quiet shorelines, with numerous tourist huts offering an ocean view. 

Mount Rinjani, the second-highest mountain in Indonesia, was closed to hikers and tourists on March 16. Meanwhile, Senggigi and Mandalika, the main tourist strips on the island, were closed in May. 

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