Besakih Temple that is located nine kilometers away from the center of eruption. (Antara/Nyoman Budhiana)
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya recently traveled to Bali to oversee the situation near Mount Agung.
Arief visited Besakih Temple that is located nine kilometers away from the center of eruption.
During his visit to the temple, a prayer gathering called Sembahyang Purnama was being held by the locals to ask for safety for the people of Bali.
The government has announced an exclusion zone within a 12 km radius from the volcano. The alert status has recently also been increased to the highest level.
Arief asked everyone to follow all the regulations set by the officials and has called on tourists to stay calm since the government has prepared plans for every possible outcome from the disaster.
“A crisis center has been established with Balinese governor as the leader. We changed the name from Crisis Center to Bali Tourism Hospitality since Bali is Indonesia’s tourism icon,” said Arief.
“First thing first; we need to give a sense of security for the people who live near Mt. Agung as well as tourists; everything has been prepared for their own safety,” he added.
Arief moreover said that in a few days, both local and foreign tourists will be advised to travel to Lombok instead.
“If the wind heads to the west, our plan is to [encourage them to travel to] Lombok. We will prepare the transportation to carry tourists who are currently in Bali to Lombok,” told Arief.
Tourists will be traveling by sea using boats that travel between Ketapang Harbor in Banyuwangi, East Java, and Gilimanuk in Bali.
The government has prepared around five ferries to transport the tourists.
“If there are 5,000 [tourists], four until five huge ferries [will be able to transport them] in a week,” said the minister.
As for accommodation, the ministry is coordinating with the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) to prepare a special discount for tourists who have to stay longer due to airport closure. (kes)