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Delaying a Visit to Paradise

Indonesian Hotels Say Mount Agung Alert Status Causing Postponement of Some Group Travel to Bali.

(10/8/2017) Balipost.com reports that most of the sudden downturn in visitors to Bali connected to the increased warning level for volcanic Mount Agung is due to group cancellations while the individual (FIT) market remaining relatively unaffected

I Nyoman Astama, the chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hotel General Managers Association (IHGMA), said on Tuesday, October 3, 2017: “What’s actually happened is a decrease in group tourism. Individual travelers are not much affected, but there is (also) a decline. The biggest (impact) is from MICE (meetings, conferences, conferences and exhibitions).”

Astama said he expects more cancellations over time as all members of IHGMA report in.

The IHGMA chairman said that cancellations had reached 6,000 room nights from all hotels in Bali. Based on the assumption that each stay is for 3 nights, this mean some 2,000 cancellations have been received. He said he expected this number to at least double.

The cancellations, he said, are coming from countries that have issued travel cautions to their citizens. Adding: “This is what is triggering the postponement of trips (to Bali). These postponements are affecting not only this month but also the entire year. This is the actual case we are encountering.”

Individual tourist, said Astama, continue to visit Bali. “We are urging those with fears, to simply postpone the date of their travel. Maybe they can come next month, two months, six months or a year from now. We are flexible,” Astama explained.

He suggested that villas are suffering less from cancellation due to the fact they serve individuals, while hotels seeking group travel are most affected by any cancellations.

The chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI-Bali), Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, estimates overall hotel bookings have declined 20-30 percent.

Tjokorda said that if the volcano warning stays in place, November might see even more cancellations with November marking the beginning of Bali’s “shoulder season” for hotel bookings.

Meanwhile, Bali’s Governor continues to urge calm, saying only 28 out of 78 villages in Karangasem fall within the danger zone. To provide perspective, this is only a portion of the Regency of Karangasem and Karangasem is only one out of 8 regencies and one metropolitan area that comprise the Province of Bali. To people harking back in fear to the 1963 eruption of Mt. Agung, the Governor says that any eruption of Mount Agung at this time will be mitigated by the sophisticated equipment, well-trained manpower, and detailed contingency plans now in place.