Friday, January 28, 2011

Will Lombok be the ‘New Bali’?

by Barrie | January 26th, 2011  

Lombok has always lagged behind Bali in regards to tourism. These days, Lombok is used as a stepping stone to the nearby Gili Islands. This doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do on the island.

On the contrary, Lombok is an island of stunning palm-fringed, white sand beaches and the interior of the island has majestic panoramas overlooked by Gunung Rinjani. Add to that the mystical Sasak culture and you have a perfect island holiday. There are a multitude of five star resorts and a variety of other accommodation to suit all budgets.

But, will it become the ‘new Bali’? There is no doubt that Bali is getting a bit worn around the edges and tourists are looking for other destinations. Nothing could be better than Bali’s sister island; Lombok. All pointers to this happening are promising. A new international airport is expected to open later this year, and, also the big investments from the Middle-East.

In an article appearing in the newspaper WAToday, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is leading a bidding race to develop an unspoilt southern coastline of white sand into a world class resort and luxury residential community. I was recently in Lombok and visited this area around Kuta and yes, it is pristine. The whole idea of this development will be eco-based tourism. This alone will surely attract many visitors. After all, it’s only a half hour flight from Denpasar.

Lombok’s culture is not as obviously rich as Bali’s, but taking a tough hike up an active volcano, Mount Rinjani, or snorkelling in pristine waters will seem appealing to tourists and travellers alike.

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