The Tourism Ministry has establish the Tourism Crisis Center in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, to help foreign and domestic tourists who are trapped in the region following a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on Sunday evening.
“The Tourism Ministry is set to focus on travelers. Our thoughts are also with the locals, but they are already taken care of by social affairs agencies,” Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.
The crisis center started operating on Monday by transporting tourists on the islets of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno to Lombok. It has a team tasked with exploring heavily affected areas in search of tourist who require help.
The Tourism Ministry has also provided 10 buses to transport travelers to seaports and airports, 25 rooms that can be used for free in Mataram, as well as food and water.
The minister has requested state-owned shipping operator PT Pelni and airline companies to provide extra ships and aircraft to transport stranded tourists from Lombok to Bali, Surabaya in East Java and Jakarta.
The Foreign Visitor Help Desk for tourists who have been affected by the Lombok earthquake can be contacted at +62 878 6412 4151. The help desk can also respond to WhatsApp messages and help tourists who have lost their passports.
“Tourists with expired visas will not be subject to penalties. The Foreign Ministry will assist those in need of a visa renewal,” Arief said. (mut)