In the past two years, Mandalika has become a venue for various international championships, including Color Run Mandalika, Paragliding Accuracy World Competition, World Championship Exhibition, Indonesian Aero Sport Federation, Paragliding Prabu Flying Site, International Beach Volleyball, Tour de Lombok Mandalika, and Mandalika Triathlon 2018.
The Mandalika Triathlon, supported by the Ministry of Tourism, was held on Oct 28, 2018, and participated in by 153 domestic and foreign triathlon athletes.
Various international sport championship events, including the latest Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) International Marathon Competition on Nov 4, 2018, showed the great potential of Mandalika resort to become Indonesia`s new sports tourism destination.
Around six thousand runners from Indonesia and foreign countries competed in the TNI International Marathon at the Mandalika Special Economic Zone.
Among those participating in the marathon were 250 runners from 22 foreign countries, including Deputy Chief of Australian Army Major General Justin Frederick Ellwood.
The event was aimed at introducing the Indonesian island of Lombok as an excellent tourist destination and boosting its tourism industry in the aftermath of the recent deadly earthquakes that rocked the resort island.
The latest implementation of the TNI International Marathon was believed to further increase public optimism over the potential of Mandalika resort to continue to be the location of international tourism sports events in the years to come.
Indonesian Tourism Development President Director Abdulbar M Mansoer has remarked in Central Lombok that Mandalika as a "sports tourism destination" would be even more complete with an integrated entertainment and sports district developed by Vinci Construction Grand Projects (VCGP) on an area of 131 hectares.
The integrated entertainment and sports district includes street circuits, a convention-exhibition building, a hospital, 10 hotels, and an international water park.
In addition, to increase Mandalika`s selling value, Mansoer noted that he would continue to improve the number of facilities within the region so as to create a comfortable environment for tourists and to welcome the implementation of other international sporting events in coming years.
The government of Indonesia is ready and will continue to market and promote the nation`s tourism potential, including that of Mandalika SEZ tourism resort in West Nusa Tenggara Province.
In light of this, the government will continue to speed up the development of the Mandalika SEZ to become one of the leading tourism destinations in the surrounding areas.
Hence, West Nusa Tenggara Governor H. Zulkieflimansyah has invited ambassadors from several friendly countries to invest in the province.
One of the investment opportunities offered by the governor is the Mandalika Special Economic Zone, as he believes Mandalika is not only a project for Indonesia but also for the world.
Zulkieflimansyah conveyed the invitation at the Gala Dinner with several ambassadors of friendly countries at the West Nusa Tenggara Governor Hall on Friday night.
Attendees at the Gala Dinner comprised Austrian Ambassador Helen Steinhausl, Azerbaijan Ambassador Tamerlan Garayev, Serbian Ambassador Slobodan Marinkovic, Thai Ambassador Song Phol Sukchan, Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Vinh Quang, and several other diplomats.
The governor remarked that the province had several interesting areas of potential to be developed and invested in, one of them being the Mandalika Special Economic Zone in Kuta Village, Central Lombok.
Zulkieflimansyah explained that currently, the provincial government had provided various facilities, including several forms of infrastructure, such as roads, to support investors.
To this end, he expressed hope that the presence of the ambassadors at the Gala Dinner would give out a strong message that West Nusa Tenggara had begun to recover after a devastating earthquake that hit some time ago.
"Enjoy and spend your time here in Lombok," the governor noted in his closing remark.
In the meantime, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir stated that several ambassadors were keen to visit West Nusa Tenggara but delayed their visit due to various agendas.
"We will urge ambassadors and embassy representatives to demonstrate that Lombok is safe to visit. For that, we need to raise public awareness abroad. The message is that Lombok is safe to visit and beautiful," Fachir added.
In spite of a devastating earthquake in Lombok recently, the resort island remains famous for its scenic beaches and underwater beauty that enable East Nusa Tenggara Province to offer a whole lot more.
Apart from the beaches, the mountainous areas of the province are a beacon for adventure enthusiasts, with Mount Rinjani, the second-highest volcano in Indonesia, famous for its caldera situated to the west of the summit.
The province certainly has beautiful natural scenery, combined with a highly religious society.
Lombok Island has been recognized as the world`s best halal tourism and honeymoon destination, a feat that should have led to an increase in halal certification for hotels and restaurants in the province.
EDITED BY INE