The authorities on the pristine Indonesian island are hatching an eco-tourism plan to ensure Lombok doesn’t go the way of tourism-dominated neighbour Bali. Last week, academics from around the world descended on Lombok, the Indonesian island known for palm-fringed and coral-ringed beaches and world-class surf, for the International Geographical Union conference on sustainable tourism.

Lombok was a particularly relevant choice, and itself a key topic, as it faces big development decisions, fuelled by an upturn in tourism. As a destination, it has always lain in the shadow of Bali, its more famous neighbouring island 40km across the Lombok Strait.

uch of Bali is dominated by tourism: hotels, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and upmarket boutiques,” said Kate Edwards of UK-based Jacada Travel, a luxury tour operator whose sales to Bali have surged by about 40% over the past year. “Lombok doesn’t yet have this. It boasts pristine rainforests and a vast national park, and is surrounded by waters rich in diverse marine life. The potential for eco-tourism is huge.”

Lombok was a particularly relevant choice, and itself a key topic, as it faces big development decisions, fuelled by an upturn in tourism. As a destination, it has always lain in the shadow of Bali, its more famous neighbouring island 40km across the Lombok Strait.

“Much of Bali is dominated by tourism: hotels, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and upmarket boutiques,” said Kate Edwards of UK-based Jacada Travel, a luxury tour operator whose sales to Bali have surged by about 40% over the past year. “Lombok doesn’t yet have this. It boasts pristine rainforests and a vast national park, and is surrounded by waters rich in diverse marine life. The potential for eco-tourism is huge.”