Bali Battles Back

The island works to ensure tourists' safety after recent bombings

By: J.L. Erickson

Indonesia’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism is vowing that the bombing in Bali on Oct. 1 will not undermine the country’s determination to fight terrorism as well as ensure the safety of tourists to the region.

“The explosion of three bombs in the island of Bali is a tragedy for all Indonesians as well as for all our friends around the world,” said Jero Wacik, minister of culture and tourism.

The ministry said that after the bombing the Bali tourism industry saw only limited travel cancellations and no cancellations from any of the airlines flying to Bali. According to the Bali Hotels Association, hotels did not experience a mass exodus like after the 2002 bombing when tourist arrivals declined 23 percent the following year.

After the bombing earlier this month, the government moved to reinforce safety in Jakarta as well as all big cities and tourist areas around the country. Officials said additional security measures also are currently being discussed and should be announced before the end of the year.

Tightened security at airports, hotels, shopping centers as well as main tourist areas have been in effect for over three years but will be further reinforced and extended to more areas in the country. Proactive security measures have been in place in Bali Hotels Association members since October 2002.

The bombings came as Bali said it hosted 1.52 million visitors last year, a record for the island and marking 29 percent of all arrivals to Indonesia far ahead of Jakarta which had a market share of 19 percent.

From January to July 2005, Bali was on its way to achieve its best year so far, with 887,450 international visitors, up almost 7 percent over last year.