Tourism ministry injects millions to lift Bali out of Agung slump

Recovery efforts include international promotions and lobbying for countries to lift travel advisories

The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism is allotting a budget of 100 billion rupiah (US$7.4 million) towards Bali’s tourism recovery.

The plunge in arrivals due to Mount Agung’s eruption is considerable for Indonesia with Bali being the country’s top destination, contributing 40 per cent of total arrivals.

Recovery efforts include international promotions and lobbying for countries to lift travel advisories

While actual data for the whole of 2017 is not available yet, the Ministry of Tourism has estimated 14 million arrivals for last year, a million short of its target.

Announcing the recovery allotment at the 2017 Year End Press Conference, tourism minister Arief Yahya said: “We will be focusing on the recovery of Bali in the first three months of 2018.”

Apart from organising international promotions, the ministry has been lobbying for countries to lift travel advisories to Indonesia, particularly Bali.

I Gde Pitana, deputy minister for international marketing development, said that while travellers for some countries continued visiting despite the advisories, others – such as those from China – were following government notices.

Arrivals to Bali from China dropped to zero following the eruption which led to the airport closing for two days and China issuing a travel advisory against Indonesia. China has since revised its advisory.

“We inform (travellers) that Bali is safe to visit, except for the radius of 6km (reduced from 8-10km) from the mountain’s crater.

“We also inform them of contingency plans should the mountain erupt again, including land and sea transportation to the nearest airports like Lombok and Banyuwangi. Travellers will have their boarding passes for the onward journeys when they leave Bali so arrangements will be finalised before they leave the island.”

A simulation of disaster mitigation was conducted on December 27.

In the meantime, the Association of the Indonesian tours and travel agencies (ASITA) is to organise an ‘Ayo ke Bali’ (Let’s Go to Bali) campaign this month to attract domestic travellers as well as business event visitors to the island.

The Ministry of Tourism’s arrivals target for 2018 is 17 million.

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