The first Australian plane to fly direct to Lombok touched down on the Indonesian island on Tuesday.

Jetstar’s head of commercial Nigel Fanning said the company would test the market with four direct flights a week from Perth to Lombok – compared to three flights daily from Perth to Bali – but said more flights could be on the cards as early as April.

“People will enjoy the rustic charm of a market like this,” he said.

“I think this is the authentic Indonesia.”

The company is banking on Lombok’s combination of beaches, surfing and rugged mountains to attract Australian travellers wary of hard-partying Bali.

“It offers more than just a fly and flop sort of market,” Mr Fanning said of the resort isle.

Stephane Servin of the Lombok Hotels Association said his organisation had been pushing hard for foreign airlines to acknowledge Lombok since the island’s international airport was completed in 2011.

“For years Bali has been what most people think of when they think about Indonesia, when Indonesia is 17,000 islands,” he said.

He said Lombok offered travellers an authenticity that higher-profile resort destinations lacked.

“You go to Thailand, Vietnam, Bali – you want to see the rice paddies and there’s going to be 500 tourists looking at the same rice paddy with you,” Mr Servin said.

“In Lombok, you’re having coffee with the guy who works in the rice paddy … It’s an experience you can’t get in a lot of places in Asia now.”