The development of the US$3 billion Mandalika Resort which is expected to attract one million tourists annually began on Friday when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono afficiated at its groundbreaking function.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province is expected to have a world-class tourist resort comparable to Bali, when the Mandalika Resort Development project in Central Lombok District is completed.

The development of the US$3 billion Mandalika Resort which is expected to attract one million tourists annually began on Friday when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono afficiated at its groundbreaking function.

Sitting on a 1,175 hectare area in Kuta, Pujut subdistrict, Central Lombok, the Mandalika Resort will be developed into one of the national tourism icons, even of the world, Chief Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said.

For the development of the Resort Area, at least six Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) on its development were signed in conjunction with the groundbreaking ceremony on Friday.

The six MoUs on the development of the resort area were signed in front of President Yudhoyono.

The MoUs concerned cooperation between PT Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) and its partners such as PT Global International, Global Land Development (MNC group) and PT Canvas Development (Rajawali Group).

MNC Group through PT Global Land Development will build an integrated park as part of the development of Mandalika Resort area.

Chief Commissioner of PT Global Land and Development Budi Rustanto and President Director of PT Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) Ida Bagus Wirajaya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development of Mandalika Resort.

Global Land will develop an integrated park in the form of Disneyland, an underwater park and a technical park.

MNC Group in the meantime will build a Formula I Circuit track, a plenary room for concert events, a seaport for excursions and other ships.

The other investor which also signed MoUs with BTDC was Rahmat Gobel who owns PT Gobel Internasional.

The Gobel Group will develop environmentally friendly technological facilities such as water and water waste treatment, solar system and other environmentally friendly facilities.

Gobel will also build hotels, villa and a high end resort.

Rajawali Group will also develop hotels, villas and high end resort at Tanjung Ann area.

PT BTDC President Director I Bagus Wirajaya said his side had also signed MoUs with eight other investors for the development of Mandalika Resort, apart from the three major investors and four others in the educational field

According to Hatta Rajasa, the signing of the MoUs constituted the start of the development of Mandalika into gaining a significant progress. "We are predicting that in the 2015 - 2025 period, millions of tourists will be visiting NTB so that its domestic incomes will increase four times," the minister said

The development of Mandalika Resort, he said, is expected to cost over US$3 billion, or about Rp27 trillion. "Of the total, some US$250 million or about Rp2.2 trillion will come from state-owned firms (BUMN)," Hatta Rajasa said in his report to President Yudhoyono.

Hatta said that most of the funds used to develop the tourist resort area came from investor partners collected by state-owned PT Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC).

It is projected that tourists visiting NTB will continue to increase from year to year, and for the Mandalika Resort area it is expected to be visited by about one million tourists when its infrastructures have been built.

"This will of course increase the regional government`s incomes. The local people will also become increasingly empowered because the need for workers will increase since the beginning of its construction until its commercial operation," Hatta said.

While being developed into an integrated tourism resort area, Mandalika is also expected to be included as one of the country`s special economic zones.

"We, in our capacity as the chairman of the National Council for Economic Zones, will speed up the process of granting a special economic zone status for Mandalika Resort area," Hatta said.

He said that the special economic zone status would soon be given to the resort area if it already meets all requirements based on regulations in force.

In his report to the president, Hatta said that the proposal for the granting of the status was now in process at the National Council for Special Economic Zones.

The proposal was made by the regional government of NTB and of Central Lombok district in its capacity as the owner of the Mandalika resort area.

The local governments made the proposal because the central government had decided on July 22, 2011 to accelerate the development of infrastructures in NTB to support its tourism.

Besides giving a priority to the development of the tourism potential, the government will also develop a food production center which will cover agriculture, animal husbandry, marine resources and geothermal energy development, especially the in Mount Rinjani area.

The decision was made in a limited cabinet meeting where the center would be developed in line with the operation of new Lombok International airport. The airport is located in Tanak Awu, Pujut subdistrict, Central Lombok district, about 16 km from Mandalika resort area, or about 40 km from the Mataram City, NTB`s provincial capital.

During the meeting President Yudhoyono expressed hope that the program would successfully be carried out in the coming three years.

The president stressed that the acceleration and expansion of development in NTB should be adjusted to the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia`s Economic Development (MP3EI).

In the MP3EI concept, NTB was placed in the same corridor as Bali and East Nusa Tanggara (NTT) provinces where the development of tourism and food is given priorities.

Hatta said that the proposal to grant a special economic zone status to Mandalika resort area was based on Law No. 30/2011 on the Special Economic Zones and on Government Regulation Number 2 / 2011 on the Implementation of the Special Economic Zones.

"If this area is granted the special economic zone status, it will gain fiscal and non-fiscal facilities so that it would attract investors to develop the tourism sector," he said.(*)

Reporter: By Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2011