Riza Roidila Mufti, Jakarta – Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara has been named the Best Halal Tourist Destination on the 2019 Indonesia Muslim Travel Index (IMTI), followed by destinations in Aceh, Riau, Riau Islands and Jakarta.
On the latest index released Monday, Lombok received a score of 70, the highest among the assessed top 10 halal tourist destinations in Indonesia, conducted by the Tourism Ministry in cooperation with Mastercard-CrescenRating, which also issued the Global Muslim Tourism Index (GMTI).
The ministry used GMTI global standard criteria for the IMTI assessment, namely access, communication, environment and services.
CrescentRating and HalalTrip CEO Fazal Bahardeen said each criteria consisted of three aspects. He gave an example that to assess the access criteria, the examiners would consider visa requirements, air connectivity and transportation infrastructure.
"The communication criteria consists of outreach, ease of communication and digital presence," Bahardeen said, adding that the environment criteria referred to safety and culture, ease of visitor arrivals and climate.
Bahardeen said there had been core improvement in all 10 halal tourist destinations in Indonesia but Lombok had improved the most.
"I think because of its strong commitment to this market. They have done a lot of work and learned about this market. They have also promoted Lombok as a Muslim tourist destination. And also of course, they have halal food and enough mosques," said Bahardeen.
Mastercard-CrescentRating projects 230 million Muslim travelers in 2026 with potential spending of up to US$300 billion. "That is a huge number and huge opportunity for countries like Indonesia," he added.
The ministry's industry and institutional development undersecretary, Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani, said Indonesia aimed to welcome 5 million foreign Muslim tourists this year. Last year, Indonesia welcomed 2.6 million Muslim tourists. (bbn)