By APD writer Maverick
BALI, Jan. 12 (APD) - Foreign tourists visiting Indonesia’s ultimate destination of Bali were confident about their safety amid the ensuing threat of volcano eruption in the island as tourism activities have returned to normal with no credible eruption has happened so far.
Visit of foreign tourists in Bali’s prominent tourism spots have been increasing after the conclusion of yearend holiday, giving more hopes for those running tourism-related businesses in the island that relied much to tourism sector.
“I hope this would continue to increase in the near future bringing back our business to it was before the eruption,” I Wayan Rai, owner of arts and souvenir shop in a Bali prominent destination of Tanah Lot temple near Bali capital of Denpasar told APD on Wednesday.
Rai has long been sustaining very bad business since Bali’s Mount Agung showed its wrath in September that prompted massive tourist visit drop in Bali and Tanah Lot for sure.
Rai said that increasing number of tourists from Australia, European and Asian countries started to be seen after the New Year holiday, including tourists from China which used to dominate the visit in Tanah Lot in recent years.
They came with their loved ones, many of them also brought along their families including their toddlers, to visit the temple built on a rock that extending into the sea.
Most of foreign tourists visited the legendary temple compound located some 20 kilometers from Bali capital of Denpasar, praised the situation in Bali which they regarded of not showing distress situation related to the eruption threat.
Indonesian authorities have yet to downgrade alert status of the volcano which now remained at level 4, the highest level.
But it recently has shrank the radius of danger zones around the volcano summit from 10 kilometers to 6 kilometers, allowing refugees to return to their houses located outside the 6 kilometer radius after spending more than 3 months in refugee shelters.
Indonesian government has declared Bali is safe for tourists to visit any tourism spots in areas other than the ones identified within the red zones in northeastern part, which only accounts 2 percent from overall Bali land.
Indonesia closed down Bali airport for two and a half days following the volcano’s eruption in late November, severely disrupting flights from and to Bali that eventually harming Bali’s tourism very bad.
An Indian family visited Tanah Lot told APD that they found a situation that made them surprised at Bali airport shortly after they landed here.
“Everything looks normal like nothing happens. It seem like no emergency situation has been taking place here,” Bharna Humare, the father in the family who is a doctor said.
The family who came from India’s west-central region of Maharashtra said that his family believed the safety during their current trip in Bali after learning fro media reports and statements of Indonesian officials related to the volcano eruption.
“I don’t think it would be harmful (should the eruption takes place). The authorities had prepared good mitigation process related to the volcano activities. I think it would be very safe here, no problem at all,” Bharna said.
Bharna brought along his wife and two sons in the trip to Tanah Lot. He said that he planned to go to areas around the volcano to find the actual situation there.
“I want to tell the truth about Bali and the volcano to my friends, relatives and colleagues who have been eager to go to Bali. Enthusiasm to visit Bali is very much high. Every Indian wanted to visit Bali at present,” Bharna said, describing Bali’s increasing popularity in India in the last few years.
Similar expression was also conveyed by a Chinese tourist after saw the developing peaceful situation and vibrating tourism in Bali.
“The hotels and several tour spots were already packed with foreign tourists, including from China. I did not see any sign of worries among them,” Ma Xueying, a female tourist from China’s Liaoning city told APD in Tanah Lot here.
She, however, has arranged contingency plans should the volcano erupt again that may lead to the closure of Bali airport.
She said that the would immediately go to Surabaya and Banyuwangi airports in East Java and nearby island of Lombok.
Meanwhile, another tourist Scott Milliger from San Diego, the United States said that to his surprise he found out that all businesses in bustling tourism spots in downtown Denpasar of Kuta, Sanur and Seminyak were still open and providing 100 percent of their capacities.
“I did not see emergency situation everywhere I go in Bali. Everything seems safe with business,” said the American man who is currently in his honeymoon trip in Bali.
Scott said that he actually had considered to cancel his trip to Bali. But if he did so, it would cost him much from the penalty of his travel agent as he already booked the package since months before the initial eruption in September.
“After we took the risk, so.. here I am, still safe and sound. We are very happy now as we have made it, spending our memorable honeymoon here,” Scott said as his wife busy taking photos of beautiful sceneries in the location.
Confirming that volcano eruption has brought calamity to Bali tourism in recent months, a senior official of a Bali opulent resort said that occupancy rate recovery in his resort has showed positive trend during the recent Christmas and New Year holiday season, later on it was not stable.
“After the yearend holiday season the occupancy dropped to 40 - 50 percent. Normally we can easily get 70 to 80 percent during that period in the past,” Anantara Resort Seminyak Bali General Manager Terence Lee told APD on Wednesday.
He expected that recovery of occupancy rate in his resort would start in periods after the Chinese New Year holiday which was slated for mid next month.
Terence said that the resort expects to receive significant guests from China during the holiday season. He added that tourists from China contributed 40 percent to its occupancy rate in the resort located near Bali’s Seminyak beach.
Responding to the ongoing volcanic activities in Bali’s volcano, Terence said that his resort still applies contingency steps for the guests should volcano eruption takes place again.
“Bali is safe now, but I can’t predict anything,” he said.
Those steps including international flight arrangements for guests who wanted to go to their respective countries, assuring their land transportation to alternative airports should Bali airport is closed down and provide discounted room rates if the guests plan to extend their stay.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)