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ISSUE 3

VISIT LOMBOK YEAR 2008!

LOVE SAYANG-SAYANG!

SOUTH LOMBOK INVESTMENT PLANS GO AHEAD

CALL TO SLOW BALI'S GROWTH

LOCAL SCENE

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VISIT LOMBOK YEAR 2008!

Welcome to the third issue of The Lombok Guide – Lombok's new tourism paper and your guide to the best that the island has to offer. Inside you'll find useful maps to make touring easier, important information about Lombok, plus great discount vouchers for restaurants, hotels and other businesses.

The first of January was the start of a new year, as well as being the beginning of “Visit Indonesia Year 2008” – a national campaign to encourage travellers to come to Indonesia this year. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism hopes to attract around 7 million visitors in 2008 with its campaign, despite an uninspiring campaign slogan of “100 years of National Awakening”. Here at The Lombok Guide we think that, while the rest of the country may just be waking up, those of us in Lombok are wide awake and raring to go!

Having just celebrated a highly successful Christmas / New Year season, Lombok and the Gili Islands are more than ready to welcome more visitors to our unique shores. So, rather than launching “Visit Indonesia Year”, we're launching “Visit Lombok Year”. If you can't travel to any of the other 17 000 plus islands in the Indonesian archipelago, and must choose only one… the choice should be Lombok!

Just 25 minutes by plane from Bali, or a couple of hours by the new fast boat services, Lombok has a wide range of attractions and activities for all types of travellers – whether you're looking for action and adventure, discovering different cultures and traditions, or lazing on perfect beaches in the sun.

Discover Senggigi and the beautiful beaches of the west coast. Go trekking through jungles and rainforests, and shower under a sparkling clear waterfall. Climb the world-famous volcano, Gunung Rinjani, and gaze in awe at the panoramic views across the ocean to Bali. Tour the stunning southern coastline and learn to surf in Kuta. Visit the famous “Gili Islands” for world-class diving and fantastic snorkelling, boating and water sports.

Swim in turquoise clear waters by day and, at night, dine at some of the best restaurants in Lombok. Wherever you go, you'll be greeted with smiles and friendly Sasak hospitality. Come and discover the magic of Lombok… like thousands of others, you'll be enchanted!

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LOVE SAYANG-SAYANG!

No one seems to know quite how to translate the name of the village “Sayang-Sayang” into sensible English. The Indonesian word sayang means “love”, “dear”, “darling” and other sweet things, depending on context, so perhaps the name of this village will remain untranslatable – except to say that I always find something I love when I visit!

Located just to the north of Mataram and east of the airport, the whole region named Sayang-Sayang is a melting pot of creativity and traditional crafts. Many of the wooden masks, ornaments and furniture items found for sale in Senggigi (and throughout Indonesia) originate in this small corner of Lombok. 

Sayang-Sayang is perhaps best known for its wooden products, usually decorated with mother of pearl inlay, called cukli. Local people in this area have been creating their crafts for many years and teaching their skills to each successive generation; whether their specialty is woodcarving, painting, cukli, or rattan and bamboo weaving. Intricately carved wooden filigree panels are another specialty of the area, usually decorated with hand painted highlights – a craft practiced by a few respected local artists, who have the gift of bringing this type of art to life.

A few years ago the Sayang-Sayang Pasar Seni (Art Market) was established on Jalan Jendral Sudirman (the road east of the airport) to provide a place for locals and artisans throughout Lombok to showcase and sell their crafts in a centralised market. Today, the Pasar Seni houses a number of small shops selling wares from all over Lombok, including numerous wooden products, rattan, cane and bamboo goods, a small range of antiques, and traditional woven fabrics (ikat); making all these wonderful products easily accessible for tourists and visitors who may not have time to travel all over the island to the many small handicraft villages.

Through the Pasar Seni, craftsmen in different villages work together in a cooperative to market their products and to ensure that local people are able to make a living from their traditional crafts. A beautiful carved mahogany chaise longue, for example, may be made from wood harvested in East Lombok, then manufactured and carved in central Lombok, before being inlaid with cukli and finished in Sayang-Sayang. Or a polished wooden mask may be created in Sayang-Sayang and then sent to central Lombok, where woven rattan is hand-stitched around the edges to finish the piece in a new, distinctive style. Working together, the people are not only retaining their traditional livelihoods, but are creating new art styles by melding their crafts with one another.

The Sayang-Sayang Pasar Seni is open every day and makes a great day trip, being within a half hour's drive from Senggigi. There's a wide variety on offer and the shops are well organised, with lots of interesting products on display. There is also a lovely open-air restaurant selling very reasonably priced meals, from 10 am to 10 pm daily. Behind the restaurant is a lesehan, with bales set over three fishponds, if you want to rest in the cool while having a drink or meal. Export and trade business is welcomed by the cooperative, and professional packing and shipping can be arranged. Be sure to bargain hard and smile a lot!

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SOUTH LOMBOK INVESTMENT PLANS GO AHEAD

The Indonesian Government and Emaar Properties, a Dubai-based Public Joint Stock Company and one of the world's largest real estate companies, have plans to joint venture in a mega-development in Mandalika, on Lombok's south coast.

It is envisaged that early this year an agreement between local government and PT Perusahaan Pengelola Aset (the state-owned asset management body) and Bali Tourism Development Corporation (responsible for Nusa Dua in Bali), will be finalised with Emaar Properties. Head of the Regional Planning Department, Lalu Fathurrahman, says that talks are about 70 % complete and an agreement should be signed soon.

Emaar, has an overseas development portfolio of over US $60 billion and holds 30% equity in Dubai Bank, focused on retail and commercial banking, and is also the majority shareholder in Amlak Finance, UAE's leading Islamic home financing company.

The 1 250 hectares of land in Mandalika land was previously purchased by Lombok Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC), as part of a development package including the planned Lombok International Airport. In the joint venture, the NTB Government retains holdings of Rp 1 billion in the deal and Emaar International will invest a further Rp 5 446 billion (US $600 million) in developing the area. President SBY has already signed an agreement to allow Emaar Properties rights over the land for 80 years, with an option to renew for a further 70 years.

The property giant has recently announced plans to begin development of the properties prior to the completion of the international airport, rather than wait, as had been previously suggested. Emaar Properties have already guaranteed the construction of two large hotels, an Armani and a Ritz, in the area to meet the requirements of Middle East visitors.

There are also plans for a condominium complex and a golf course on the 400 hectares the company has in Tanjung Aan, east of Kuta. The development company obviously has large plans for the area and has also expressed interest in acquiring nearby Gerupuk beach. Emaar has already initiated the process of identifying five-star international resorts and hotel brands to be part of the development, which will also have retail amenities and residential properties. The homes will employ tropical designs and low-rise architecture in tune with the surroundings.

In line with these development plans, construction has already started on the new Lombok International Airport which will cost around Rp 650 billion to complete. The airport will have a 4 400 metre landing strip, suitable for handling Airbus and international flights.  “This is suitable for an Airbus 380, which will carry around 1000 passengers to Lombok,” said Pak Fathurrahman.

To further support the investment needs, he said all necessary infrastructures will be made available as soon as possible. Beginning in 2008 the PLN will build a new steam electricity generation plant in Lembar, West Lombok, which will have an output of two times 25 megawatts and cost more than the airport. Fresh water supplies are also being organised for the area.

Emaar Properties Chairman Mr Mohamed Ali Alabbar said, “Lombok is one of the most promising tourism destinations in Indonesia and has the potential to be the magnet for world-travellers. We are thankful to the Indonesian Government for their trust in us to support their development initiatives that will help position Lombok on par with Bali as a world-class tourism destination.”

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CALL TO SLOW BALI'S GROWTH

Adding to growing concerns over uncontrolled development in Bali and the strains being placed on that island's resources, a leading tourism expert has called on the Government to call a halt to the building of new accommodation in order to stop the diversion of land from agricultural purposes and to allow existing accommodation operators to consolidate their business positions.

Drs. I Putu Anom, a leading academic and observer of Balinese tourism from Udayana University's Tourism Study Department, said the Government must act firmly in refusing to issue new accommodation development permits. He claims that supply currently far outstrips demand in the accommodation sector, as reflected in average occupancies of 54.58% at all Bali hotels in 2007 (up from an average of 40.35% in 2006).

Data collected by Udayana University suggests that the current oversupply of rooms will remain a factor until 2010. Anom told the press that in addition to issues of over supply, Bali also faces problems of limited supplies of fresh water and the limited handling capacity of Bali's sole airport.

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LOCAL SCENE

VILA OMBAK EXTRAVAGANZA

CHRISTMAS DINNER @ BEACHCOMBERS

SOUNDS OF GILI @ HORIZONTAL

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