ON CE again, Bali is hosting an international meeting. This time, it is the 11th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) that takes place in Nusa Dua from December 6 to 7, 2018. The forum that focuses on Democracy for Prosperity will be attended by 470 participants from 97 countries, seven international organizations and a number of business practitioners.
Aside from the meeting, Indonesia hopes that the hundreds of foreign participants will also be intrigued to spend some time to explore tourist destinations around the area such as Mandalika, West Nusa Tenggara and Banyuwangi, East Java. The government said the BDF participants’ visit is expected to have a significant impact on increasing tourist visits to Indonesia.
The government is currently working to develop several tourism areas through a program that prioritizes on ten destinations also called the Ten New Bali. Through the program, the government targets 20 million foreign tourists and 275 million trips by domestic tourists by 2019. Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the ministry together with the private sector have launched ViWI or Visit Wonderful Indonesia as an effort to meet the target.
One of the destinations that is being promoted and dubbed as the ‘New Bali’ is Mandalika--located in the southern part of Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara. With an area of 1,035.67 hectares and facing the Indian Ocean, Mandalika was designated as a Special Economic Zone (KEK) of Tourism based on the 2014 Government Regulat ion number 52. Mandalika is derived from a West Nusa Tenggara’s legend Princess Mandalika that was celebrated for her beauty.
The Mandalika resort area offers marine tourism, with charming beaches and stunning underwater areas. Mandalika is also known for its soft white sand. Some of the famous beaches in the area are: Kita Beach, Seger Beach, Serenting Beach, Tanjung Aan Beach and Gerupuk Beach.
The beautiful Mandalika coastline not only spoils visitors with its crashing waves and the fine sands of its beaches, it is also a veritable surfer’s paradise. Avid surfers will be stoked by the challenge of conquering the towering waves of Mandalika, in beaches such as Gerupuk Beach,Tanjung Aan Beach and Seger Beach.
The Mandalika shoreline meanders like a stark white ribbon on a vast blue skirt falling away from the rolling green hills that stand guard over the beaches. The hills offer scenic routes where visitors can enjoy the fantastic ocean view from the vantage points of its gentle summits. But Mandalika is far from just another feast for the eyes.
It also offers spiritual experience of visiting the traditional villages where locals still practice the diverse customs of the native Lombok people. Listing Sade and Ende traditional villages in your itinerary is highly recommended. Like other areas in the country where traditional customs are still observed, Mandalika also offers its visitors a chance to take part in cultural ceremonies.
One such ritual is the Bau Nyale ceremony, where people come down to the waters to catch the seasonal sea worms believed to be the incarnation of Princess Mandalika. The annual ritual is observed between February and March.
Banyuwangi in East Java offers yet another palette of colors to delight in. Nestled in the horseshoe-shaped tip of Java, Banyuwangi is the popular home to tourist destinations like the Ijen Crater. The crater is famed for its nightly fluorescent blue glow, as gaseous sulphur reacts with oxygen in the air, creating blue flames.
The Baluran National Park, often called Mini Africa, is also located in the area. With a total area of 250 square kilometers, tourists can engage in several safari activities including wildlife viewing, such as deer, buffaloes, bulls,
long-tailed monkeys and peacocks.
The area is also complemented with the magnificent Bangsring beach, which is located in Bangsring Village conservation area. Aside from being a favorite spot for diving, at the beach, tourists can plant coral reefs and visit the floating houses. The magi cal spi r i t of Banyuwangi has been further enhanced thanks to Sanggar Genjah Arum dance studio, which pampers tourists with traditional arts and culture.
Located in a former coffee house owned by coffee expert Iwan Subekti, the studio also serves as a miniature of Osing traditional village, traditional communities that spread at the eastern area of East Java. Aside from Mount Ijen, tourists can also experience a more relaxed highland vibe at the Kaliklatak Plantation in Gombengsari village.
The family-friendly plantation offers views of rubber, coffee, cocoa, cloves and spice plantations that dated back to Dutch colonization era. Mandalika and Banyuwangi now have a variety of lodgings that are ready to accommodate incoming visitors. Transportation modes in and out of the area have also increased in numbers since the two destinations have become increasingly popular with tourists. (Gnr/S2-25)