"We have not calculated the precise amount of losses, but we estimate that it reaches tens of billions of rupiah due to the closure of the Lombok International Airport, Chairman of the Hotel and Restaurant Associations (PHRI) of NTB I Gusti Lanang Patra stated here, Tuesday.
The number of tourist arrivals and the hotel occupancy rates in the province have significantly dropped due to the volcanic eruption.
"Due to the airports closure, the occupancy in hotels has decreased as there are no new tourist arrivals," he stated.
Hundreds of domestic and international events, such as meetings and exhibitions scheduled to be held in NTB had to be postponed or canceled due to the natural disaster.
NTB is famous for hosting MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, and Exhibition) activities.
Patra estimated that the province will not be able to achieve its target of attracting two million foreign tourists this year.
Mount Baruraji, a cone of Mount Rinjani located in Lombok, NTB, has erupted, leading to the closure of several airports in neighboring provinces.
The volcanic ash had forced the authorities to shut down the Ngurah Rai Airport; the Blimbingsari Airport in Banyuwangi, East Java; the Selaparang Airport in Mataram; and the Lombok Praya Airport in Lombok, NTB.
According to the Transportation Ministry, at least 1,180 flights had been cancelled due to the volcanic ash until Nov. 7.
In the meantime, the Bali tourism industry has incurred losses worth around Rp45 billion due to the impact of Mount Barujaris eruption in neighboring NTB Province, according to the Bali tourism office.
"(Frequent) closures of the airport caused losses amounting to some Rp45 billion," Head of the Bali tourism office Agung Yuniartha stated in Denpasar, Bali, on Nov. 9.
Until the morning of Nov. 9, some 25 thousand foreign tourists had cancelled their visit to Bali as the airport had been frequently closed since Nov. 3.(*)