Wednesday, November 11, 2015


 Jakarta, Nov 11, 2015 (Antara)- Indonesia's tourism sector has again been affected by a natural disaster as its two most famous tourist destinations --- Bali Island and Lombok --- are incurring losses due to the eruption of Mount Barujari.
        Mount Barujari, a cone inside Mount Rinjani's large volcanic caldera located in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), has erupted since Nov. 3, leading to the closure of several airports in neighboring provinces.
        The volcanic ash had forced the authorities to shut down the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali; the Blimbingsari Airport in Banyuwangi, East Java Province; the Selaparang Airport in Mataram; and the Lombok International Airport in Lombok, NTB. 
   The data from the Transportation Ministry revealed that at least 1,180 flights had been cancelled due to the volcanic ash until Nov. 7.

        According to a Bali tourism official, the local Bali tourism industry has incurred losses worth around Rp45 billion due to the impact of Mount Barujari's eruption.
        "(Frequent) closures of the airport have caused losses amounting to some Rp45 billion," Head of the Bali tourism office Agung Yuniartha stated in Denpasar, Bali, on Nov. 9.
        Until the morning of Nov. 9, some 25 thousand foreign tourists had cancelled their visit to Bali as the airport had been frequently closed since Nov. 3.
        The Bali tourism industry was significantly affected since the tourists had to cancel their hotel bookings, he noted.
        "Overall, the tourism industry has suffered losses in revenue. There were cancellations of hotel room reservations. The loss is estimated to reach US$1.5 thousand on a daily basis," he affirmed.
        This is the second blow for the Bali tourism industry after the eruption of Mount Raung located in East Java, which had also forced the temporary closure of the Ngurah Rai airport in July this year.
        Mount Raung is located on the borders of Bondowoso, Banyuwangi, and Jember districts in East Java Province.
        The eruption of Mount Raung had led to some temporary closures of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali on July 9, with ash clouds drifting towards one of the world's most famous tourist islands.
        Besides the Ngurah Rai Airport, four other Indonesian airports, mainly Lombok International Airport and Selaparang Airport in NTB Province; Blimbingsari Airport in Banyuwangi, East Java Province; and Notohadinegoro Airport in Jember, East Java, were also shut down temporarily due to intermittent eruptions. 
   The affected airlines and Bali's tourism industry suffered significant economic losses due to the temporary closures of the Ngurah Rai Airport.
        The management of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport claimed to have incurred losses amounting to US$40 thousand per day due to Mount Raung's eruptions that have frequently forced temporary closures of the airport.
        The number of foreign tourists visiting Bali in August 2015 decreased by 71,307 from 382,683 in July to 301,376 in August 2015.
        Besides Bali, the tourism industry in NTB has also suffered losses worth tens of billions of rupiah due to the eruption of Mount Barujari.
        "We have not calculated the precise amount of losses, but we estimate that it reaches tens of billions of rupiah due to the closure of the Lombok International Airport," Chairman of the Hotel and Restaurant Associations (PHRI) of NTB I Gusti Lanang Patra stated in Mataram, NTB, on Nov. 10.
        The number of tourist arrivals and the hotel occupancy rates in the province have significantly dropped as a result of the volcanic eruption.
        "Due to the airport's closure, the occupancy in hotels has decreased as there are no new tourist arrivals," he remarked.
       Hundreds of domestic and international events, such as meetings and exhibitions scheduled to be held in NTB had to be postponed or canceled due to the natural disaster.
       NTB is famous for hosting MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, and Exhibition) activities.
       According to Patra's estimate, the province will not be able to achieve its target of attracting two million foreign tourists this year.
       Another official estimated that NTB's tourism sector is incurring losses worth Rp2 billion per day due to Barujari's eruption.
        In general, however, the Indonesian tourism industry continues to grow with each passing year, with the number of tourists increasing and further development of the country's tourist destinations.
     Data from the Ministry of Tourism revealed on Nov. 10 that the number of foreign tourist arrivals in September 2015 reached 7.1 million. The figure shows an increase of 3.53 percent from 6.9 million tourists recorded in the same period last year.
        For 2015, the target for foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia has been set at 10 million visitors.
        In a bid to achieve the target, the government has offered visa free facilities to 90 countries and organized several festivals and world-class sports competitions.
   Indonesia's foreign exchange earnings from the tourism industry may double to US$20 billion following the government's decision to waive visa requirements for 90 countries, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli remarked in Jombang, East Java.
        "We will boost the number of tourist arrivals to 20 million from 10 million and have set ourselves the target of increasing foreign exchange earnings to US$20 billion from US$10 billion," Minister Ramli added.
(T.F001/A/BESSR/F. Assegaf) 11-11-2015 13:39:31

No comments:

Post a Comment