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Welcome to The Lombok Guide – Lombok's complete tourism paper and your guide to the best that the island has to offer. The Lombok Guide is published on Lombok every two weeks and contains valuable information for all visitors to our magical island.

One of the biggest problems Lombok faces today is lack of international recognition. The information available through travel agencies internationally is limited at best. Even for those who have heard of Lombok, many people still have an image in their minds of a small island off Bali… primitive, undeveloped, probably only offering low budget accommodation consisting of Indonesian-style home-stays with squat toilets.

Information about our island and the range of facilities and activities available to travellers continues to be lacking on the global front. The government, particularly through the offices of the Department of Culture and Tourism, spends millions of rupiah every year promoting Lombok nationally throughout Indonesia, but apparently fails to understand the benefits or the need for international publicity for the island.

If we are to really compete on the global travel arena, Lombok needs to have a consistent international marketing programme; one that disseminates information, creates awareness and promotes the island's features and benefits in much the same way as the marketing machine has worked for Bali for so many years.

Fortunately, private industry is still enthusiastic about the beauty and potential of Lombok and is prepared to put their efforts into tourism promotion, with or without government support.

The Lombok Hotels Association, under new Chairman Marcel Navest, has been making great in-roads this year in promoting Lombok to a wider audience. Closer to home, we at the Lombok Guide are also putting our best foot forward to educate the world about this idyllic paradise we call home. Slowly but surely, we think 2009 will finally be the year when the world sits up and takes notice of Lombok!

To find out more, pick up a copy of The Guide from the locations listed on page 36 or visit us at www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself… like thousands of others, you'll be enchanted!

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Once again Lombok's hotels and private industry have taken the initiative in promoting Lombok to overseas markets, with a film crew from Abu Dhabi and travel agents from Japan and Singapore all visiting Lombok over the past two weeks.

The largest group of travel agents came from Japan, with a special “Fam Trip” (Familiarisation Trip) organised by Fredrik Kaseipo, General Manager NTB, Garuda Indonesia. Garuda has offices in Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo but, until now, Japanese agents haven't been familiar with what Lombok has to offer the Japanese market.

Pak Fredrik arranged to fly 31 people, including four media representatives from Japan, the GM of Garuda Nagoya and top Japanese travel agents to Lombok, where they stayed at the Oberoi Resort in North Lombok and the Novotel Lombok, on the south coast. The group toured Kuta, the Gilis and other places of interest, and enjoyed a beachfront dinner at the Senggigi Beach Hotel.

In a departure from the usual “table top presentations” featured at Fam Trips, the Lombok Hotels Association organised an informal open discussion which allowed the agents to ask questions and address concerns directly to Lombok's travel industry representatives. The agents expressed delight at Lombok and, now that they have seen Lombok for themselves, are keen to promote our island as an alternative destination to Bali for the Japanese market. Japan is the second biggest market for Bali, with a recorded 25 324 arrivals between January 2008 and January 2009.

Garuda has pledged support in promoting Lombok in Japan by offering to fly hotel operators to Japan to further promote the island there. Pak Fredrik said the airline company will also help distribute promotional magazines and brochures to travel agencies in Japan.

Lombok was also the focus of a visit by a television crew from the United Arab Emirates who toured Bali and Lombok from 18-23 April. The visit was arranged by the Indonesian Embassy (KBRI) in Abu Dhabi and Mr Abdi Satya Utama from the Embassy accompanied the crew during their visit. The film crew from ORYX Productions is making a video about Bali and Lombok to promote the islands in the UAE.

The group stayed at the Holiday Resort in Mangsit and were also treated to a special cocktail party and dinner at Qunci Villas in Mangsit. Local agency, Ajurna Tours, provided trips around the island, including sightseeing tours of Senggigi and Kuta, with lunch at the luxurious Novotel Lombok Resort. The next day they were transferred to Gili Trawangan, where they stayed at Hotel Vila Ombak and enjoyed island sightseeing and a buffet dinner courtesy of the hotel.

The final visit to Lombok was made by six of the biggest travel agents in Singapore, with a special Fam Trip organised by Pak Soepit, GM of Silk Air Lombok, and the Lombok Hotels Association. The group was accompanied by representatives from the Indonesian Tourism Office in Singapore and Silk Air, Singapore.
The travel agents enjoyed stays at the Oberoi Resort in north Lombok and Santosa Villas and Resort in Senggigi, while touring the island and visiting places of interest. They were also gifted with special promotional packages by the Lombok Hotels Association and have arranged to distribute additional packages to their affiliate agents in Singapore.

At a special dinner held at the Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort, there was lots of positive feedback from the group. As so little information about Lombok is available internationally, the perception in Singapore was that Lombok was a bit primitive and the agents had resigned themselves to staying in budget accommodation. They were delighted to find this wasn't the case, saying: “We never expected Lombok to be like this! We love it… the combination of luxury and primitive charm is excellent!”

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The PLN (State Electricity Company) is being forced to rent electricity generators from the private sector to keep up with local electricity demands. The company needs another 52 megawatts (MW) to meet regional demand.
PLN NTB currently has the capacity to generate 110 MW of electricity, of which 20 MW cannot be used due to frequent machinery problems.

The company is currently negotiating for the rental of generators, in a complicated bidding process. This process has failed in the past due to prices being too high and bidders retiring from the negotiations.

At the moment PLN is being forced to effect rolling blackouts every four days lasting for three hours each night.
In an attempt to reduce the duration of the blackouts, the company has already changed its schedule by introducing rolling electricity cuts lasting one hour to every household in Mataram city and surrounding suburbs.

To meet the demands of its 15 000 customers in Lombok, PLN will rent three generators from the private sector capable of generating another 32 MW of electricity; one 15 MW, one 12MW and one 5MW. They will also rent a 10 MW generator for Sumbawa and a 10MW machine for Bima, both in neighbouring Sumbawa Island.

Some households in the region don't have any electrical connection to their homes and have been on a waiting list for years. The waiting list for new electrical connections in the NTB area is currently 78 563 households, requiring an additional 54 755 KVA of electricity. Of that number, 73 911 customers in Lombok are awaiting electricity connections, requiring another 48 705 KVA of electricity from PLN.

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Radar Bali reports that Indonesia's Department of the Ocean and Fisheries have invited at least 10 countries to participate in 3 events intended to focus world attention on Indonesia's vast ocean resources.

The programme, supported by the Indonesian government, is part of three ocean-centred events which include two international conferences scheduled to be held in Indonesia in 2009 and a five-month long sailing event.

The World Ocean Conference will be held in Manado, North Sulawesi from 11 – 15 May and will host 121 countries discussing problems confronting the world's oceans.

Running concurrently in Manado will be a meeting of the Coral Triangle Initiative, comprised of member representatives from Indonesia, the Philippines, Solomon Island, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), and Timor Leste, with the United States and Australia as observers.

Sail Indonesian – Sail Bunaken 12 - 20 August, 2009
The August sailing regatta set to take place from 12 – 20 August will see participation by visiting yachtsmen from 10 nations, as well as tall ship visits and visiting war ships from friendly nations.
Organisers are targeting participation by 100 yachts that will be hosted with a range of activities including a food festival, official dinners hosted by the President of the Republic and the Governor of North Sulawesi, an organised sailing regatta around Manado and a fireworks display.

Sail Indonesia 18 July - 25 October 2009
A 5-month sailing course from Darwin to Belitung will also be held as part of Visit Indonesian Year 2009.
Sail Indonesia is a major annual yachting event, with boats sailing in the Darwin to Kupang Rally, and then spending three months sailing through the Indonesian archipelago before heading onto Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Foreign yachts are welcomed to join the entire voyage visiting at least 18 Indonesian ports of call, or to only join a portion of the route visiting much of Eastern Indonesia. The fleet will call on Bali between 30 September and 4 October, 2009.

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The local government in Lombok is threatening to revoke the investment permits of up to thirty companies who have obtained licenses to invest in tourism and farming.

The investment companies, which hold permits over a total of 12 733 hectares of land in Lombok, are in danger of losing their rights to investment as they have failed to make the investments as planned. NTB government bodies are considering cancelling their permits to allow “serious investors” to take control of the land.

The Head of the NTB Investment Board (Badan Penanaman Modal Nusa Tenggara Barat), Jalal, said that there are 340 companies in the region that hold approval for investment from the Investment Coordinating Board, 50 of which have already been evaluated. “Some are having problems with land ownership from previous owners,” Jalal said.
Separately, NTB Investment Consultant, Baiq Maimunah, said that there are 135 companies which need to be evaluated because they have not yet executed their projects.

The Investment Board had already evaluated some of the businesses twice and had sent invitations to businesses, asking them to meet with the Board to discuss their investment status.

The first evaluation was conducted on 29 January 2009, with six companies being sent invitation letters. Another evaluation conducted on 26 February summoned 17 companies, but only three people attended.

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Bali's Custom and Excise Officers have conducted a raid on a warehouse in Bali, confiscating thousands of bottles of illegally imported wine and alcohol. The raid, conducted on 16 April 2009, uncovered nearly 550 cases of alcohol containing over 5 600 bottles. Also discovered by customs officials were a quantity of counterfeit customs stickers.
According to NusaBali, officials estimate the potential loss in government revenues represented by the illegal alcohol and customs stamps at Rp 8.7 billion (US $950 000).

Indonesian Customs regulations provide for criminal prosecution of those connected with illegal smuggling operations, with hefty penalties. Punishment under the law can total up to 8 years behind bars and fines equal to 20 times the applicable import duty.

Customs officials have taken into custody a businessman with the initials KS who reportedly purchased the alcohol and false stamps from parties in Jakarta and Surabaya.

On one level, the Bali raid can be seen as a manifestation of warnings from many quarters that the recently introduced custom's duty of up to 300% on imported alcohol is a virtual guarantee that black markets in imported alcohol will soon emerge.

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The provincial government of Bali is in the process of preparing new laws that will help control rabies by introducing rules and procedures affecting pet ownership.

The draft legislation, being discussed in a series of public hearings, specify that:

· Any dog, cat or pet monkey running loose on public streets is subject to capture and detention.
· Pet owners will be able to claim their pets back after paying the cost of warding their pet in a detention centre.
· Pets not claimed can be offered for adoption, but may be euthanized if new homes cannot be found.
· Pet owners will be required to register their pets with local animal control authorities.
· Pet shops and pet dealers must be officially licensed.
· Owners will be required to keep their pets under control and provide preventative inoculations.

The draft legislation, if approved, would set a new standard of attention to animal welfare on the island and require the authorities to build a pet pound to house captured pets awaiting reclaiming, adoption or extermination.

The new law is likely to prove controversial with many Balinese families who maintain a loose master-pet relationship with their dogs, allowing pets to come and go as they please from their family compound.

Another part of the new pet owner law also provides for 6 months imprisonment and fines of up to Rp 50 million (US $5 450) if anyone fails to report suspected cases of rabies to the authorities.

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Saturday night is party night every week at Senggigi’s hottest nightspot – Marina Café

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