Quake shud­ders tourism:

Asia

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The pow­er­ful earth­quakes that struck the In­done­sian is­land of Lom­bok in re­cent weeks killing some 400 peo­ple have sent hol­i­day­mak­ers flee­ing, rais­ing ques­tions about how its lu­cra­tive tourism sec­tor will bounce back.

Two deadly tremors a week apart – ac­com­pa­nied by dozens of af­ter­shocks – wrought wide­spread dam­age on homes and liveli­hoods, strik­ing dur­ing the cru­cial tourism sea­son, when ho­tels, lo­cal busi­nesses and sea­sonal work­ers earn the bulk of their an­nual rev­enue.

In the Gili Is­lands, a pop­u­lar back­packer and div­ing des­ti­na­tion just off Lom­bok’s north­ern coast, thou­sands of ter­ri­fied tourists jos­tled on pow­der-white beaches for de­part­ing boats.

Lom­bok’s air­port was briefly crammed with hol­i­day­mak­ers rush­ing to get flights out, while the main tourist drag of Seng­gigi has been left de­serted.

Al­fan Hasandi de­pended on peak sea­son tourists to see his fam­ily through the rest of the year. He and his brothers ran a now shut­tered busi­ness on one of the is­lands, Gili Air, of­fer­ing boat tick­ets, snor­kel­ing, trekking and ve­hi­cle rentals, usu­ally earn­ing five mil­lion ru­piah ($350) a day dur­ing peak sea­son.

“We hope we can re­build...but it’s im­pos­si­ble be­cause peo­ple are still trau­ma­tised,” the 25-year-old told AFP. “Our homes have been com­pletely de­stroyed... we don’t have money to re­build, we need help.”

Lo­cated in the one of the most tec­ton­i­cally ac­tive ar­eas in the world, In­done­sians are used to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and its tourism in­dus­try has bounced back from catas­tro­phes

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