Mataram, W. Nusa Tenggara — The number domestic and foreign tourists in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), has significantly increased ahead of Nyepi, the Day of Silence in Bali, which falls on Saturday (17/03). “Since yesterday (Wednesday), we’ve seen an increase in the flow of foreign tourists in Lombok. They want to spend the holiday in a relaxed atmosphere, as Bali and Lombok have really different atmospheres during Nyepi,” said the chairman of Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association’s (PHRI) NTB chapter, Lalu Abdul Hadi Faisal, in Mataram, on Thursday. He said the trend could be seen in the spike in occupancy rates of hotels in Lombok. Currently, the average occupancy rate stands at 60 to 65 percent in Mataram and its surrounding areas and it can reach up to 75 percent in tourist resort areas such as Gili Trawangan in North Lombok and Senggigi in West Lombok. Apart from Nyepi in Bali, Hadi said, the increase in visitors to Lombok also had to do with a string of conferences and research activities that would be conducted in the area over the weekend. “Around 300 students of Muhammadiyah University from Sidoarjo, East Java, for example, will come to Lombok. Because of Nyepi in Bali, they decided to stay in hotels in Lombok for their meeting,” he said. Lombok International Airport (LIA) general manager I Gusti Nurah Ardita said that on Nyepi, eight flights from Ngurah Rai International Airport to LIA and vice versa would be halted until Sunday.