Bali Tourism Authority Tries to Convince Tourists to Stay

BALI tourism authorities are now working to convince visitors to stay on the resort island amid increasing seismic activity at Mount Agung, which has forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

According to Bali Tourism Hospitality spokesman Dewa Gede Ngurah Byomantara said that only 2 percent of the entire island would be affected in the case of a volcanic eruption. The volcanic activity at Mount Agung should not affect other tourist spots. For those who enjoyed hiking could still go to Mount Batur, Mount Batukaru or Mount Abang.

“Three major tourist spots have felt the impact of the rumbling volcano, namely Besakih Temple, Tulamben beach and Tirta Gangga. I am assured that other major areas in the island, including coastal areas like Sanur, Kuta, Nusa Dua and also Ubud, were not affected,” he said.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association’s (PHRI) Bali chapter, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, said he had been tracking the movement of tourists to safer areas on the island, noting an increase in occupancy rate at boutique hotels near Dasa Temple in Karangasem.

“In October, the occupancy rate of non-star hotels [near Dasa Temple in] is usually about 50 percent, but it is currently at 60 percent. October was customarily a slow season for tourism,” said Tjokorda.

He believed the visitors of Tulamben Beach would also move to other coastal areas like Kuta and Nusa Dua. [Jakarta Post/photo special]