Churches bombing and an attack on a police station, both in Surabaya, have translated into twelve countries issuing a travel warning to avoid travelling to Indonesia.
The decision from 12 countries to issue a travel warning for their citizens desiring to go to Indonesia has been acknowledged by Indonesia Tourism Minister Arief Yahya. However, there is no way to feel worried according to the Minister: “The travel advisory means the country is still safe to visit. It is just an alert, not a ban” Arief Yayah stated as he met some Indonesian reported in the building of Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs in Central Jakarta last Wednesday.
Countries such as the UK, Australia and the USA are generally prompt to issue advisories. Most worrying however is the fact that Malaysia and Singapore are also among the countries who asked their citizen to be on alert. For example, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs advise in a statement “Singaporeans who are either travelling to or already in Surabaya to exercise caution, remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions for their personal safety”.
Australia did not change its travel advice which currently stands at level 2. This fosters Australian travellers to “exercise a high degree of caution” particularly in Jakarta, Bali and Surabaya. The Australian travel advisory website (smarttraveller.gov.au) further indicates to “continue to receive information indicating terrorists may be planning attacks in Indonesia. Attacks could occur anywhere, anytime. Indonesian authorities continue to arrest terrorists in the advanced stages of attack planning. Be particularly vigilant at places of worship and during significant holiday periods”.
Indonesia Minister of tourism explained that the warning is considered to be lighter than the one during Mount Agung eruption when several countries issued a travel warning. He explained a country could issue three warnings for its citizens; travel advisory, travel alert, and travel ban.
According to Arief Yaya, they are three levels of alerts, namely travel advisory, travel warning and travel ban. Travel advisory remains the least dangerous level.
The minister expressed his hope that the situation in Indonesia would return to normal soon, reported newspapers.