Bau Nyale to charm tourists to Mandalika

The government wants the annual Bau Nyale Charm Festival in Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, to not only attract tourists to the province, but to the newly opened Mandalika special economic zone (KEK) as well.

The festival was opened with a grand ceremony on Tuesday evening on Seger Beach, which is located in the KEK Mandalika area.

The festival, known locally as the sea worm festival, has been included in the national tourism agenda by the Tourism Ministry and the special zone has also been designated as one of the top 10 national tourism priorities.

“The festival can serve as a magnet to attract tourists to Mandalika,” the special staff for the Tourism Ministry, Esthy Reko Astuti, said at the opening ceremony.

The ministry, she said, was focused on developing tourism in West Nusa Tenggara. Besides Bau Nyale, other events to be held in the province include 100 national wonderful events promoted by the ministry such as the Tambora Charm Festival, the Moyo Festival and the Lombok-Sumbawa Charm Festival.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo inaugurated KEK Mandalika in October last year to bolster tourism in the province following the government’s plan to create “New Bali” tourist destinations in several regions.

Hundreds of tourists, both foreign and domestic, attended the festival on Tuesday.

During Bau Nyale, local residents catch nyale (colorful sea worms) that only appear once a year. They believe the sea worms are the reincarnation of Princess Mandalika of the Tunjung Biru Kingdom.

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