Business as usual in Bali

TOURISM stakeholders in Bali reported that the destination was holding firm in the wake of a renewed terrorist threat, after Indonesian authorities subdued a suspected terrorist cell in Sanur, Denpasar on March 18.

Ansyaad Mbai, head of Indonesia’s National Counter Terrorism Agency, was quoted by various media outlets as saying that the five men shot dead by Indonesian counter-terrorism forces were planning to bomb several targets on the island, including the La Vida Loca bar in Seminyak.

The Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has since revised its Indonesia travel advisory status to “Reconsider your need to travel”, urging Australian nationals to “reconsider (their) need to travel to Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the very high threat of terrorist attack”.

Bali tourism stakeholders whom TTG Asia e-Daily spoke to, however, painted a picture of serenity and nonchalance among major source markets thus far.

“There have been no cancellations nor exodus of tourists following the raids,” said Indonesia Tourism Industry Association Bali chairman, Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya.

“We hope there will not be any (cancellations) in the future, as the success of Densus 88 (Indonesian counter-terrorism force) in catching those suspects shows that security works well here.”

Pacto director of operations and product development, Umberto Cadamuro, said: “It is business as usual for us. We have received no requests for clarification, nor any cancellation or decline in bookings.”

“I believe this is partly due to the very limited news (coverage of the incident) by major media (outlets) such as CNN and BBC. It is a very positive move to defeat terrorism by not giving them unnecessary publicity,” he added.

Smailing Tour, which handles a large amount of MICE business to Bali, received earlier this week a number of business inquiries from European and Singaporean incentive groups looking to visit the destination in May and November.

“We have received some queries from (incentive) clients, but more about the weather than the raids,” said Smailing Tour Bali managing director, Justina Puspawati, referring to the inclement weather as a result of Cyclone Lua hitting Bali last week.

“In fact, we are now handling a high profile corporate meeting with 120 participants from various countries here in Bali,” she added.

“No one is showing any concern. On the contrary, some delegates have even asked us about (holiday packages) for June and hotel rates (during high season).”

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