Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - At least 1,600 foreign tourists from Bali Island are currently flocking in three small islands, locally known as Gili, in North Lombok District, West Nusa Tenggara, the local hotel association reported on Thursday.

Tourists started pouring into Gili Islands as activities in Bali have come to a standstill on account of the Day of Silence on Thursday.

Gili Hotels Association Head Lalu Kusnawan said that the foreign tourists from Bali are coming to Gili Meno, Gili Air, and Gili Trawangan (Matra) using speedboats.

"The foreign tourists began arriving at Gili Matra three days before the Day of Silence, and the number peaked on Wednesday (March 2, 2022),” Kusnawan said in Mataram on Thursday.

Of the 1,600 foreign tourists, a thousand spent the holiday in Lombok Island at Gili Trawangan, while the rest headed to Gili Meno or Gili Air, he informed.

Most of the tourists will spend at least three to five days at the three small islands while Hindu residents in Bali suspend activities to observe the Day of Silence and will return to Bali after activities return to normal, he said.

"Local hotel operators are not offering special Day of Silence tourist packages just like normal conditions before the COVID-19 pandemic; hence, foreign tourists are just seeking offers from online tourism agencies to arrange a visit here," Kusnawan added.

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He highlighted that foreign tourists flocking Gili Trawangan have positively impacted the local tourism industry, which has been struggling to survive amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout.

Besides local hotels and tourism accommodation operators, residents operating small stalls, bicycle and diving equipment rental businesses, and traditional horse-drawn public transportation, locally known as Cidomo, have benefited from the foreign tourists' arrival, Kusnawan noted.

"Foreign tourists’ arrival during the Day of Silence has had a significant impact on tourism actors at the three Gilis, yet the impact is not equal to what was seen during the World Superbike (WSBK) in Mandalika Circuit last November," the association head said.

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Translator: Awaludin, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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