The Jakarta Post
Tourists are seen on Kuta Mandalika Beach in Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, in this undated file photo. (JP/Panca Nugraha)
Following the suicide bombings of three churches on Sunday morning in Surabaya, East Java, a national tourism association has said that the country will face more challenges in developing tourism as the spearhead of the national economy.
"These incidents are counterproductive amid our efforts to increase the positive image of Indonesian tourism," Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) head Asnawi Bahar said on Sunday, as quoted by KompasTravel.
The association and its members strove to maintain an environment conducive to Indonesian tourism through many means, such as holding domestic and international business-to-business Travel Mart events to promote and sell tourism packages to the archipelago, said Asnawi, and that security was key to ensuring the success of their mission.
"The travel agencies have made a maximum effort in helping to achieve the government's target of making tourism the spearhead of the national economy. But if this condition continues, it will be very counterproductive," he said.
"We hope [conditions] can be restored immediately. The government and the industry have to work together, especially since Indonesia will host the Asian Games and the IMF-World Bank [meetings in October], with thousands of members around the world," said Asnawi, adding that security was the main concern for foreign tourists, especially those from Europe.
Asnawi also expressed his deepest condolences on behalf of ASITA for the victims of the Surabaya church bombings. (kes)