REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, DENPASAR -- Bali Governor, Made Mangku Pastika, has called on tourists to visit Bali without any hesitation, adding that the resort island was safe and conducive despite increased volcanic activity of Mount Agung, which is located in Karangasem District, Bali Island.
The governor gave his assurance during a meeting with tourism stakeholders, such as travel operators, here on Tuesday.
If Mount Agung erupts, it would have direct impact only on 28 villages located within a radius of 12 kilometers from the volcano's crater.
Bali's main tourist attractions such, as Nusa Dua, Kuta, and Sanur, are located tens of kilometers away from the location of the mount, he added.
According to him, Karangasem has 78 villages, and only 28 villages could be directly impacted. The remaining 50 villages and other tourist destinations in Bali would be safe.
"Therefore, do not hesitate to visit Bali, except for climbing the mount, which will be forbidden as it is dangerous," Pastika explained.
Besides, the current condition is different from how it erupted in 1963.
Indonesia now has better disaster mitigation measures and more sophisticated information technology that could minimize the number of casualties and damages in case of eruption, he asserted.
More than 4 million foreign tourists visited the resort island of Bali in the first eight months of this year, up 25.40 percent from 3.19 million in the same period last year.
"Therefore, I would like to reaffirm that Bali would be safe and there is nothing to be worried about. All arrangements have been already made in case of an eruption," he reiterated.
The government has planned to hold a meeting with foreign consuls in Bali in order to eradicate misinformation and disinformation or hoax regarding the current situation.
Meanwhile, in August 2017 alone, 601,884 foreign tourists visited Bali, a 37.37 percent increase compared to the same month last year, Chief of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) office in Bali, Adi Nugroho, remarked here on Tuesday.
The number of tourist arrivals in August 2017 also increased 1.66 percent compared to a month earlier, he added.
He stated that all top 10 sources of tourist arrivals saw a significant rise in the number of tourists visiting the resort island from the January-August 2017 period.
The number of Chinese tourists surged 58.69 percent, from 661,462 to 1,049,648, placing China atop the list of sources of tourist arrivals to the island.
Trailing behind in the second place was Australia, which saw a 0.26 percent rise in the number of tourists from 741,952 to 743,860.
India was ranked third, with a 48.84 percent surge in the number of tourist arrivals from 117,897 to 175,473, while Japan was ranked fourth, with a 12.10 percent rise from 154,597 to 173,296.
Bali has set a target of tourist arrivals for this year at 5.5 million.
According to data from the Bali statistics office, the resort island received 4.92 million foreign tourists in 2016, a 23.14 percent increase, compared to 4.001 million in 2015.