Early signs of travel worry after bombings in Surabaya

Travel agents say there's been little to no disruption to ongoing holidays, but some travel concerns are emerging

Reporting by Mimi Hudoyo and Tiara Maharani  

Following the suicide bombing attacks in Surabaya, the city remains on high alert, while concern surfaces in the travel community worldwide with advisories issued by the UK, Australia, the US, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Ireland.

As the police and anti-terror squad step up security in and around the city, members of the travel trade in East Java are continuing to monitor the situation and keeping in close communications with clients and business partners overseas to provide updates.

Travel agents say there’s been little to no disruption to ongoing holidays, but some travel concerns are emerging

Arifudinsyah, chairman of the Association of The Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (ASITA) East Java chapter, said: “We are collecting data and information from members (on the impact), but it is still too early to determine the impact on business now.”

While inbound travel companies in Surabaya TTG Asia spoke with have not received cancellations for ongoing trips so far, there have been some concerns about future bookings.

Adjie Wahjono, operations manager of Aneka Kartika Tours and Travel Services, for example, which has several couples and small groups from the UK and Germany arriving between May 10 and 17, said the bookings were all intact and none suspended their travels ahead of time.

He has, however, received concerned enquiries from travellers intending to visit Indonesia in the coming months.

Adjie stressed that Surabaya is typically only a gateway into and out of the main destinations in East Java, which could be why his clients have had less qualms proceeding with their booked trips.

“Most of our clients are only in transit here, before continuing Mount Bromo or Ijen Crater,” he explained. For example, a group of eight from Germany were in Mount Bromo on the day of the bombing, and continued their trip to Makassar, through Surabaya airport as planned.

“Today, we have two travellers arriving from the UK going to Mount Bromo and Ijen Crater, too” he added.

However, this is no sign of travel impact in the months ahead as concern mounts in the travel community worldwide.

“Travellers are feeling very uncertain and we need updated information to let them know what the ground situation is. (As of now) the security forces have been acting very promptly and businesses in Surabaya are running as normal.”

Monas Tjahjono, managing director of Monas Tour, Surabaya shared that the company has also been in contact with partners in Singapore to keep them updated on the latest situation as well as set contingency plans for travellers.

He added: “We have had no calls from people wanting to change their future trip in East Java, however, we will do all we can to help them find suitable alternative tour packages or allow them to move their dates if they want to.”

In a statement, Arief Yahya, Indonesia’s tourism minster, said: “The Tourism Crisis Management Team will continue monitoring and will co-ordinate with all parties to ensure that the tourism ecosystem are conducive; (to ensure that) amenities and attractions in East Java, particularly in Surabaya run normally.”

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