October, 19, 2010 - 06:29AM

At least 118 buyers from 22 countries have announced their participation in the four-day Tourism Indonesia Mart and Expo (TIME) 2010 event, which begins Tuesday in Senggigi, West Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).

Held in cooperation with the Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board, the NTB Tourism Promotion Board (BPPD), the Culture and Tourism Ministry and other stakeholders, the event features 104 sellers from the country’s 13 provinces, including NTB. The event is being hosted at The Santosa Villas and Resort, as it was last year, but the opening ceremony will be held on Gili Trawangan, a resort island off Lombok.

We want to produce a different nuance this time,” NTB BPPD chairman Awanadi Awisnabawa said Monday.

NTB Governor Zainul Majdi is scheduled to open the event, accompanied by the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s Director General of Marketing Sapta Nirwandar. The buyers, Awanadi said, come from the United States, Germany, Canada, Spain, Hungary, Australia, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, China, India, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

The sellers represent Jakarta, Bali, Central Java, West Java, North Sumatra, Lampung, Central Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, North Sulawesi and East Kalimantan.“TIME 2010 presents all tourist destinations including newly developed tourist areas, eco-tourism and marine tourism,” Awanadi said. Participants are also invited to visit tourist spots in West Lombok and Central Lombok as well as to climb the challenging Mount Rinjani.

Organizer Ressy Salim of Patco Convex Ltd., said TIME 2010 was expected to yield up to 145 transactions worth US$19.5 million. “We are optimistic of reaching that figure,” Ressy said. Last year, TIME made $17 million in transactions involving 117 buyers from 24 countries, and 200 sellers from 16 provinces.

The optimism was a result of several new tourism destinations on offer as well as the participation of new buyers from India, China and the Middle East, she said. TIME has been held 16 times since 1994 and has been mentioned in international event calendars, such as World Travel Mart. Sales at the event, Ressy said, were usually followed up by the respective parties during the International ITB Berlin event held every March.

The event is expected to help the province meet its target of receiving a million tourists within two years, under its Visit Lombok Sumbawa 2012 program. “We have between 600,000 and 700,000 tourists visiting the province annually,” NTB Culture and Tourism Agency head Lalu Gita Aryadi said.