Bali Governor and Indonesian Minister of Tourism plea for tourism industry players to provide one night free accommodation and discounted rates for stranded travellers. Meanwhile, Surabaya and Lombok airports position themselves as alternative solutions to fly out.
On average, the Bali airport accommodates up to 50,000 passengers per day. On Tuesday, the total number of stranded tourists stood close to 60,000.
The airport is now entering its third day of closure following the eruption of the Mount Agung volcano, on the north end of the island. Yesterday evening Arie Ahsanurrohim, head of communications and legal division at Angkasa Pura I, the state airport’s authority, declared “It has been decided to keep the airport closed until 7 a.m. tomorrow, as the airspace of the airport is still covered by volcanic ash.”
While airlines are now waiving cancellation fees for travellers, many also decided to cancel totally their flight schedule until December 1st, reported Indonesian magazine Kompas.com. But Thai Airways International already announced it would cancel its flights until the end of the week while Scoot (Singapore) suspended the sale of tickets to Bali until December 4.
In an official statement Bali Province Governor has mandated hoteliers in Bali to grant a one-night free exemption on the the first day of Ngurah Rai International Airport closure and then offer the best available rate for following nights.
The Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association Bali is granting travellers affected by cancellation one free night accommodation + a 50% discount on the following night’s stay. A similar plea was made by Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism towards the travel trade to help in easing the burden caused by, and to, stranded tourists.
Neighbouring provinces such as West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) also help stranded passengers in Bali. “We conducted a meeting on Nov. 27. Hotels in Lombok are ready with the minister’s request of providing a one-night free stay for those whose flights got cancelled, and a 50 percent discount for the next day,” NTB Tourism Agency head Lalu Faozal told the Jakarta Post.
Lombok also provides free transportation from hotels, airports and ports while Lombok Tourism Agency is offering to tourists tours to explore several attractions in Lombok while they are waiting for their flights.
Some airports are also taking over some of Bali traffic. This is the case for Lombok International Airport, but particularly for Surabaya Juanda International Airport. Transfers are organised by bus from Bali Mengwi Bus Station or from Ngurah Rai Airport itself. it takes approximately 12 hours to reach Surabaya by bus and boat. Low cost carrier Scoot transferred already some of its passengers to Surabaya.