The Jakarta Post
Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali. (Illustration) (Shutterstock.com/Cocos.Bounty)
Following the suicide bombings in Surabaya, East Java, on Sunday, the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) has asked foreign countries via its partners abroad not to issue travel warnings against Indonesia.
“I would like to say to neighboring countries and other foreign countries to ask their governments not to issue travel warnings against Indonesia,” ASITA chairman Asnawi told KompasTravel on Sunday.
Asnawi believes that travel warnings would only hurt Indonesia’s tourism.
“Although [the recent] terror attacks happened only in Jakarta and Surabaya, [foreign countries] may think attacks are happening all around Indonesia,” he added.
According to Asnawi, countries that are known to issue travel warnings in regards to terror attacks are the United States, several European nations and Australia.
He also hopes to form a partnership between tourism agencies and the government for the effort to convince foreign countries not to issue travel warnings. The effort should include travel agents and stakeholders, such as Indonesian embassies and the Foreign Ministry.
“The Foreign Affairs Ministry should work to explain the issue to ambassadors,” Asnawi said.
The issue is more pressing, according to Asnawi, due to Indonesia’s upcoming role as host of the 2018 Asian Games and International Monetary Fund-World Bank meeting in Bali, which will be attended by representatives of various countries.
“Foreign tourists, especially those from Europe, pay a great deal of attention to security matters,” he said, expressing his condolences to the families of those killed in the Surabaya bombings on behalf of ASITA. (asw)