REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, MANGUPURA -- The Badung District Tourism Office has given assurance to domestic and international travel agents that Bali remains safe to visit despite a phreatic eruption of Mount Agung on Tuesday afternoon.
"We will continue to provide updates on the developments of Mount Agung to overseas travel agents. Currently, tourist destinations in Bali, in general, and Badung, in particular, remain safe for visit," I Made Badra, head of the Badung tourism office, noted here, Wednesday.
Press releases on updates related to Mount Agung have been sent, among other things, to India, which is viewed as a potential market for Bali's tourism, he said.
"The increased activity of Mount Agung, which has spewed volcanic ash, has become a sensitive issue for the Indian tourists. Hence, we have sent press releases to Indian travel agents to inform them that Bali remains safe for visit," he noted.
From January to October 2017, the number of foreign tourists visiting Badung had reached 4.9 million.
He is optimistic that Badung would be able to achieve its target of attracting 5.8 million foreign tourists this year.
Currently, the number of flights operating per hour reaches 29, and he is optimistic that it would increase to 35 flights per hour next month.
The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center (PVMBG) had reported that Mount Agung erupted, releasing volcanic ash and smoke from the crater on Tuesday afternoon, with grey smoke rising some 700 meters from the crater.
PVMBG Head of Volcano Supervision and Mitigation Devy Kamil Syahbana stated in Denpasar on Tuesday that the smoke was moving towards the eastern and southeastern regions of the volcano.
"(Despite the eruption), the volcano remained in stage III of the alert status. Hence, we hope that people would remain calm and follow PVMBG's instructions," she remarked.
According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, Mount Agung's eruption on Tuesday was a phreatic eruption, which is steam-driven without lava being ejected.