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Friday, January 12, 2018

Tourism in Indonesia's Bali gradually recovering after volcano eruption

After going through difficult times with its backbone sector of tourism severely battered by a series of volcano eruptions late last year, Indonesia's Bali resort island started to recover with arrivals of foreign tourists.

Tourists from different countries were seen visiting Bali's prominent scenic spots in groups, wandering around popular bustling areas in the island's southern part of Kuta and Seminyak near the white sand beaches.

They came with their loved ones and families, including toddlers, to visit the resort island.

An Indian family visiting a prominent spot of Tanah Lot said what they experienced in Bali was different from their earlier perception about it after reading reports on Mount Agung volcano eruptions.

"Everything looks normal like nothing happens. It seems like no emergency situation has been taking place here," Bharna Humare, a doctor from west-central India region of Maharashtra told Xinhua on Wednesday.

After declaring Bali safe for tourism in areas other than the ones set as red zones, Indonesian authorities have recently reduced the radius of danger zones around the volcano summit from 10 km to 6 km. They also allowed locals, who have spent more than three months in shelters, to return to their home located outside the 6 km radius.

The authorities, however, have yet to downgrade the volcano's status from the highest alert of level 4.

The red zones around the volcano account for 2 percent of Bali's overall land.

Volcano eruption in November last year had prompted Indonesian authorities to close down operation of Bali's only airport for two and half days.

Scott Milliger, a honeymooner from San Diego, the United States, said he had successfully did what he planned for without any hurdle during his current stay in Bali with his wife, even though he realized that the Bali volcano remained active.

"We come here to spend our honeymoon, we have visited major spots, temples and did the surfing here, perfectly like our plans," Scott said in Tanah Lot.

With the gradual return of foreign tourists to Bali, hotels and restaurants in the resort island started to see their businesses picking up, but they have yet to recover to levels before the volcano eruption.After Christmas our occupancy picked up. After the yearend holiday season the occupancy dropped again to 40 to 50 percent. Normally we can easily get 70 to 80 percent," General Manager of Anantara Resort in Seminyak, Bali, Terence Lee told Xinhua on Wednesday.

He said the occupancy rate was highly expected to improve during the Chinese New Year holiday season in mid February.

"Realistically I think after the Chinese New year, or early March, everything would be going back to normal again," he said.

According to Terence, Chinese tourists used to contribute 40 percent occupancy in his resort. But during the volcano eruption before December last year his resort, located in Bali's bustling area of Seminyak beach, seldom received Chinese tourists.

Terence said that his resort still applies contingency steps for the guests should volcano eruption takes place again, including international flight arrangements for guests who wanted to go home, assuring their land transportation to alternative airports should Bali airport is closed down, and providing discounted rates if the guests plan to extend their stay.

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