A new resort development in southern Lombok is set to become ‘the new Bali’ with major infrastructure development currently underway and a series of new hotels and MICE facilities in the pipeline.

The Mandalika Resort project is the brainchild of the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), formerly Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC), which developed Bali’s Nusa Dua area into a resort and meeting complex. With renewed government support, ITDC has ambitious plans to develop the area into a sustainable tourism and MICE destination.

ITDC’s head of investment and marketing, Ricky Baheramsjah, says: “We want to give visitors more options, we don’t want to simply recreate Bali.”

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Key facilities in Mandalika will include more than 10,500 hotel rooms, 340,144 sqm of commercial and retail space, MICE facilities for 5,000 and 7,000 pax, a theme park, eco park and water park, equestrian facilities, and a golf course.

With a focus on environmentally sustainable development, the development plan for Mandalika will likely take between 15 and 20 years, but MICE infrastructure is a priority.

“MICE is going to be within the first or second phase," says Baheramsjah. "Within the next five years, at least one of our key MICE facilities will be developed.”

 

While ITDC may not want to create a carbon copy of Bali, the organisation will look to implement similar destination management strategies in Mandalika to those used in Nusa Dua.

“The learning curve in Nusa Dua is very steep, especially in terms of security, maintenance, management, and even down to the utilities like water provision and electricity. All that knowledge will definitely help us with Mandalika,” says Baheramsjah.

“Mandalika is like Nusa Dua in 1975, so we see a lot of similarities. Although it’s largely Muslim, whereas Bali is Hindu, the scope of work is very similar. We have more than 40 years of experience managing and operating destinations and we’re hoping this experience will help facilitate the development and operation.”

A 20-minute drive from the new Lombok International Airport and 25 minutes from the main ferry terminal in Lembar Harbour in South West Lombok, Mandalika Resort spans 1,035 hectares, including a 7.5 km stretch of beach, and is surrounded by a 3,000-hectare conservation zone.

Major amenities currently under development include the 1.4 km Mandalika Kuta Beachwalk, an interconnected art centre, MICE venue and hospital, and the Masjid Mandalika Lombok mosque.

Five hotels are set to break ground within the next 12 months, delivering more than 1,500 rooms within the next three years, while a 102-room Novotel, Royal Tulip hotel (250 rooms), Pullman (250 rooms), and Club Med resort (350 rooms) are due to break ground in 2017.

Mandalika is one of 10 key destinations currently under the spotlight as Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism looks to boost business and leisure tourism in destinations beyond Bali. However, of the top 10 destinations, which include Lake Toba, Borobudur, and Wakatobi, Mandalika is the only destination with dedicated MICE facilities.

“Mandalika will be a MICE-orientated development because MICE is high-quality tourism. MICE visitors spend more, have very good behaviour, and expenditure is three times that of leisure visitors,” said deputy minister for international tourism, I Gde Pitana, at the Beyond Bali Travel Fair, which took place last month in Nusa Dua.

“Tourism is a major priority sector under the Jokowi government and we want to accelerate the development of destinations beyond Bali," says Pitana.

“We don’t want to leave Bali with the creation of 10 new Balis, we want to help Bali with more sustainable development.

“Tourism is the best and fastest way to develop this country and we have a strong management plan and focus on infrastructure,” he says.