Tourists in Bali’s Tanah Lot Temple. (Photo source: Pixabay/kolibri5)
Jakarta, GIVnews.com – A series of alleged terrorist attacks in East Java and Riau in the past 10 days did not cause a drop in tourist arrivals in Indonesia, notably in Bali, Manado and Central Java. No foreigner had canceled their plan to visit the country during that period, according to government officials and tourist industry players as reported by Kompas daily.
Bali Govenor I Made Mangku Pastika said local authorities had taken special anticipatory measures in the past week against possible terrorist attacks on the island. Meanwhile, Ketut Ardana, chairman of the Bali office of the Association of Indonesia Travel Agents (Asita) admitted on Wednesday (16/5) that their overseas partners had repetitively asked them about the development of the security situation in Bali and in Indonesia as a whole following recent terrorist incidents. “We told them it was true that there were bombings in Surabaya and that Surabaya is far away from Bali,” Ketut Ardana told Kompas.
Meanwhile, in the North Sulawesi provincial capital of Manado, where foreign visitors have been predominantly Chinese nationals in the past couple of years, local authorities had reportedly coordinated special measures to ensure the safety of visitors holidaying in that city and in other areas in North Sulawesi. The province is growing in popularity as a tourist destination.
Chandra Bong, head of the Manado office of Lion Air China, said on Wednesday they had received many questions from China’s travel agents who wanted to know whether the area is free from potential terrorist attacks. “I convinced them that the situation in Manado differs from in Surabaya. I said that Manado and Bali are free from terrorist threats,” he said.
According to Kompas, about 4,000 foreign nationals visited Manado monthly in the past several months, using 17 international flights from China and Singapore. But, no data is available about the total number of annual foreign tourist arrivals in Manado. Meanwhile, more than 5 million foreign tourists came to Bali in 2017, according to a report by Bisnis.com. They were part of the 14 million foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia in the same year.
In this coming October, Bali will host the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Meeting. The annual event will be held at Nusa Dua in Badung, south of Denpasar. Suicide bombings hit Kuta, Bali’s most popular beach in 2002 and 2005, respectively killing 202 and 23 people, many of whom were foreigners. Last year, tourism reportedly occupied the second highest source of Indonesia’s foreign exchange earner after palm oil.