After weeks of waiting, Mount Agung has finally erupted. But it has little affect on the life of the island and its tourism so far…
After predicting the worst and even evacuating inhabitants in a 12 km circle around the volcano, Mount Agung finally erupted last afternoon. More than 140,000 people fled their homes in an exclusion zone set up in September as fears of an eruption grew.
Bali’s Mount Agung began spewing clouds of gray smoke to a height estimated at 700-meters above the 3,031-meter mountain’s peak. The volcano erupted 5.05pm on Tuesday, two months after seismic activity prompted authorities to raise the alert to the highest level. It had since late October been downgraded to Level III, considered the second-highest warning signal and has since remained at that level. It is still the same level being actually activated today.
So far, life on the island has not been affected, in particular flights in and out of the airport? The volcanic ashes and clouds of steam were pushed southeast, not affecting so far Bali Denpasar International Airport. All the flights were confirmed operating as usual, although most airlines indicated to monitor closely the situation and to be able to change their plans if ashes were starting to fly over the airport area.
The Bali Tourism Board (BTB) Mount Agung Task Force is urging the public to monitor official sources, such as the BTB, PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia and not be influenced by dramatic “hoax” reports emanating from online social sources and from a number of foreign news agencies.
Locals and tourists are being urged to remain calm and not to panic. Tourists who bought insurance for their trips to Bali prior to last night’s eruption are expected to still be covered in the event of any delays or flight cancellations. From january to September, prior to the news of a potential eruption, international arrivals to Bali were up by 25% to reach 4.55 million visitors compared to 3.64 million for the same period of 2016. October is likely to show a decrease in total arrivals to the island. However it should not affect the growth in tourist arrivals for the whole year.