Image: The Gili Islands from above. Credit: almarik-lombok.com.
The Provincial Government of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) through the Department of Tourism announced they will reopen Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno in North Lombok Regency to welcome the new normal of tourism.
“The NTB province will make the three island tourist destinations a pilot opening with the implementation the Covid-19 preventive health protocols,” NTB Tourism Department Head, H Lalu Moh Faozal told reporters in Mataram, Friday (12/06).
According to Faozal, during the Covid-19 pandemic tourism on the islands was totally paralyzed. Many people involved in the tourism industry became unemployed and hotels, etc., were not operating.
“The new normal application is actually life going as usual, but implementing the health protocols, which should now become a habit,” he said.
The NTB tourism office together with the health office, TGP2D and other elements are perfecting the new normal SOPs based on hygiene, health and safety or as the central government has titled the practice, Cleanliness, Health and Safety (CHS).
Faozal explained that the NTB provincial government has coordinated with the North Lombok regency government to guarantee the movement of tourists coming to the three islands.
The application of strict health protocols must also be done by all hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions.
“This tourism area will be the first destination to open in NTB,” Faozal said.
Head of the NTB Health Service Dr. Nurhandini Eka Dewi said everyone on the islands are enthusiastic to return to normal life, but there are criteria that must be met to implement the new normal.
“The community must start living a healthy lifestyle, continuing to wear masks, keeping a distance, with the sneezing ethics, etc.,” Eka said.
According to a statement from the NTB Department of Tourism, the opening will be made in two stages. The first stage, which started on June 9, sees the staff of the resorts and other businesses returning to the island to prepare the properties and locations for guests, as the islands have been deserted since the beginning of the corona virus.
The local community on the islands will have health tests according to protocol to ensure that Gili Tramena (an Indonesian term for the three Gili islands), is free from COVID-19 positive cases and can maintain the green zone so that the Gilis are ready for the new normal. (It’s not clear who is paying for the tests. Ed). Phase two will begin on the completion of phase one.
However, on the tourism department’s Facebook page, the statement says “The provincial and local governments predict that it (the second phase) will only be implemented in August 2020. However, before implementing the new normal opening of Gili Tramena, the government, society and stakeholders must all commit together to the reopening.
It is still not clear why they say August, 2020, but the Lombok Post are calling a June 20, 2020 opening in an article they posted on June 8, but like most things right now, with all the protocols and pulling together of transport and other logistics, it probably more time than imagined, to do anything.