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10 July 2007
Australia's Warning Hits Tourism

Several Indonesian tourism entrepreneurs acknowledged they are very much affected by Australia's travel warning. It is predicted that the warning will cause a number of tourists coming to Indonesia go down drastically as Australia is the second highest foreign tourist contributor after Japan.

“Our condition becomes worse,” said Mety Robot, an adviser of the Indonesian Travel Association for Jakarta, yesterday (9/7).

According to Head of the Indonesian Travel Association for Bali, Al Purwa, Australia's travel warning has terrorized businesspeople and future tourists. There is not in fact any cancellation of travel and hotel reservations. However, “We're worried and frightened by the warning,” he said.

The kangaroo country's government warned its citizens on Sunday (8/7) not to visit Indonesia especially Ambon, Maluku and Central Sulawesi. The reason is, there was a terrorism threat. Earlier, Australia issued travel warnings when bombs exploded in Bali in October 2002 and 2005.

This warning of Australia is the second blow for Indonesian tourism business this month. on 28 June, the European Union prohibited Indonesian aircraft from entering Europe.

The measure was followed by several European insurance companies not willing to guarantee their clients' claim for flying on Indonesian aircraft. Travel agents also warned European citizens in Bali to use buses, trains or ships for traveling to other Indonesian regions.

Meity explained that travel agents have already tried to influence European tourists. “They're very insurance-minded, rather than finding problems, it's better to look for other countries in Southeast Asia.”

Kodhyat, tourism observer from Indonesian Travel Study institution, asked all sides not to be panic about the warning. The travel warning, he said, will not be effective. Despite the fact it has been issued several times, Australians still are visiting tourism spots in Indonesia especially Bali. “For Australians, Bali is already like a second home,” he said.


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