The opening of the new Lombok International Airport has started to boost the tourism industry of Chili island with the arrival of around 150 Russian tourists via Nordwind Airline charter flight on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.
The arrival is the first of a series of charter flights organized by Pegas Touristik in Russia and handled by Go Vacation Indonesia (GVI) , a travel agent based in Bali, that will bring passengers from Russia directly to Lombok on an Airbus 767-300ER with a capacity of 304 seats, starting November 2011 to May 2012.
Go Vacation Indonesia’s executive manager for product and contracting, Marika Gloeckler, said: “These are direct flights from Novosibirsk/Russia to Lombok on a regular basis, with a rotation of 13 nights back to back, to the island up to May 2012.” Gloeckler added that there could be a second charter program from another city in Russia.
Up to May 2012, 4,000 Russian tourists are estimated to visit Lombok. This number is expected to increase in years to come. Putu Arya, representative for GVI stated that there will be groups of tourists coming in the 284-seated charter flights each month.”Initialy we introduced the Bali-Lombok package tours, but then many tourists preferred to go straight to Lombok without Bali,” he added.
GVI mainly provides accommodation packages for the Russian tourists, while tour packages are optional. A number of tour packages offered to the tourists include a visit to the Gili Islands, the Mandalika resort package, trips to handicrafts centers, and much more.
Meanwhile, the Lombok-Moscow axis is estimated to grow as a blooming economic line. Not only tourists, business developers from Russia are also arriving at tourist destinations in West Nusa Tenggar Province. About 18 Russian investors have visited Lombok earlier this week. The trip was a response to officials of West Nusa Tenggara Province visiting Russia earlier. “The Russian businessmen visited some of the tourism destinations in West Nusa Tenggara; this is a form of introduction to West Nusa Tenggara Tourism potentials,” said Bayu Winindiya, head of the West Nusa Tenggara Investment Board (BPM).