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Will Lombok’s tourism recover from the recent earthquake?

Tourism in the said island is at a standstill right now. Additionally, the rehabilitation process might take up to three years.

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The death toll of Indonesia’s Lombok province after a fatal magnitude 6.9 earthquake last Aug. 5 has now reached 387, according to CNN, and counting.

Locals and trapped tourists are now staying in makeshift shelters after the deadly tremors, and the nightmare seems far from over. According to News.com.au, the island has some deadly aftershocks throughout the weekend, further endangering the lives of survivors.

Officials have recorded a total of 450 aftershocks since the magnitude 6.9 tremor, and one of them—a magnitude 5.9 earthquake—triggered a landslide that buried four people and injured a dozen more. This particular aftershock also caused further damage to compromised structures; it even “rocked” a six-story naval ship naval ship where medics treat the injured, causing them to hurry to the nearest concrete dock.

The quake has caused considerable damage to one of Indonesia’s top tourist destinations where hundreds of hotels and resorts are located. Lombok is a jumping-off point to the Gili Islands, one of the most idyllic beaches in Indonesia that rivals crowd favorite Bali. Roads around it cracked due to the aftershocks, and the area continues to experience power outages and a shortage of clean drinking water.

Impact on tourism

Following the disaster, the future looks uncertain for the island of Lombok. Before the quake, the Indonesian government is grooming it as a new tourist destination, with President Joko Widodo choosing south Lombok’s Mandalika development as one of the places that can compete with Bali in tourism.

Gili Islands, in particular, is famous among divers and honeymooners who wish to experience a virgin island vibe. Aside from the deaths, 1,033 people have been seriously injured, and 270,000 have been displaced from their homes, The Guardian reported. And the satellite images indicated that 75 percent of northern Lombok has been destroyed.

Gili Island beach

The picturesque Gili Islands near Indonesia’s Lombok Island wasn’t spared from the 6.9-magnitude earthquake. (Source)

After the earthquake, some foreign tourists and expats have banded together to create makeshift emergency areas to treat the wounded. Some of these tourists also volunteered to gather painkillers.

The earthquake has affected hotel and resort operations around the island, with some travel agencies reporting a sudden drop in reservations by as much as 50 percent. Fear of aftershocks and the lack of electricity and water are some of the reasons why tourism, a significant source of Lombok’s livelihood, is currently on hold.

In addition, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Indonesia warned the people not to go to Lombok and to visit only Gigli Islands if necessary, per Daily Express.

In some parts of the province, some business people try to continue with their lives. Rascal Republic co-founder Erik Barreto stated that its establishment in south Lombok is intact.

When it comes to the duration of the rehabilitation after the earthquake, Barreto said, “Places usually fully recover in two to three years.”

Remembering Indonesia’s Boxing Day Tsunami

The recent earthquake has already triggered tsunami warnings. It can be remembered that back in December 2004, Indonesia was one of the countries seriously hit by the deadly Indian Ocean earthquake.

The 2004 earthquake, with the epicenter near Sumatra, caused what is now referred to as “The Boxing Day tsunami,” which killed nearly 230,000 people across 14 countries.

Suzanne Mitchell is a traveller by heart. She believes that women can change the world. A mother and an entrepreneur, she writes about business and finance and other things of interest to women interested in making their mark in the world.

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