REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, LOMBOK -- Lombok recorded some 2.2 million domestic and foreign tourist arrivals during the January-July 2016 period, which is a significant increase, according to an official.
Intensive tourism promotion activities organized by both regional and central governments led to the increase, Head of the West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Tourism and Culture Office M. Fauzan stated here on Thursday. Besides this, various national-level events, such as the National Press Day and Quran Recital Competition, held in NTB earlier this year also contributed to the increase in tourist arrivals, he added.
The NTB provincial administration has set a target to attract some three million tourists this year. "Within just the first seven months of 2016, we have received 2.2 million tourists. We are optimistic of achieving the target of three million tourists," he remarked.
He believes the increase in tourist arrivals is an anomaly as the first half of the year is usually a lean season. In the first semester of the year, the hotel room occupancy rate in Lombok is usually low, but this year, it reached some 80 percent.
The NTB administration has lately intensified promotion of halal tourism. Halal means permissible according to Islamic teachings. "Halal tourism does not concern the products but is related to meeting the criteria for halal services, for instance, beer is not served in hotels," he pointed out.
Halal tourism not only attracts tourists from Muslim-majority countries but also from others. Foreign tourists visiting Lombok came from Australia, Malaysia, the Great Britain, France, Germany, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iran, and Oman, among others.
Lombok, one of NTB's main islands, was adjudged the best halal tourism and honeymoon destination during the World Halal Travel Awards 2015 held in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, in October last year. The event was held in conjunction with the World Halal Travel Summit 2015.