Bali could see as much as a 30-per-cent drop in tourist arrivals after several countries issued travel warnings regarding a potentially active volcano, Indonesian officials say. Mount Agung, on the resort island of Bali, has been on its highest alert level for over two weeks. On Tuesday, authorities spoke from an imminent irruption.
‘We don’t have the exact numbers, but we estimate (cancellations) at around 20 to 30 per cent,’ said Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, according to the local Kompas daily.
With lengths of stays averaging four days, the island might see as many as 60,000 cancellations, he said. A Tourism Ministry spokeswoman confirmed that the minister’s statement was based on data the ministry had compiled.
Singapore, Australia, the US, Britain and New Zealand issued travel warnings shortly after the volcano’s status was raised to the highest alert level on September 22.
Despite the travel warnings, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika has assured visitors that the island is safe. He told 33 foreign consulates in Denpasar last Wednesday that, ‘even if the volcano erupts, our disaster management is at its best.’
Tourism is a very important source of revenues for Indonesia but particularly for Bali. The island generates between 35% and 40% of all arrivals to the country. According to the latest data of Bali International Airport, they were 3.5 million foreign tourists who entered through Ngurah Rai Airport from January to July, a growth of 22.18% compared to 2016.
“In 2017, Ngurah Rai International Airport is targeting 5.58 million foreign tourists, “said last September Yanus Suprayogi, General Manager of the airport. Tourists arrivals to Bali are dominated by China (900,000 arrivals from January to July equivalent to +62%), followed by Australia with 630,000 arrivals and India with 235,000 arrivals. If 30% of travellers disappear, Bali would just reach five million international travellers for the year.
Prior to Thursday, more than 146,000 people had evacuated the danger zone around Mount Agung, according to the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB).