JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – A spat of terrorist attacks that rocked the nation since Sunday (13/5) may hurt the Indonesian government to record 17 million tourist visits this year.
Twelve countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia, have reportedly issued travel advisories for their citizens in Indonesia following recent terrorist attacks in Surabaya and Sidoarjo in East Java.
The foreign authorities have urged tourists, including those visiting travel hotspot Bali, to ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ due to the ‘high threat’ of further attacks. On the EU’s website for consular protection for EU citizens abroad, most member states called on their citizens to remain cautious and warned against traveling to certain areas in Indonesia.
Minister for Tourism Affairs Arief Yahya said the travel advisories may cut the number of tourist visits to Indonesia by 1 million this year. The minister drew comparison to last year’s eruption of Mt Agung in Bali, which led to 1 million less tourists visiting the paradise Island.
A series of blasts struck three churches across the provincial capital of Surabaya at around 7 a.m., Sidoarjo at 8.30 p.m and Surabaya Police Head Quarter on Monday (14/5) leaving at least 28 dead and over 40 others wounded. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks via its propaganda agency Amaq.
Still, the minister highlighted that travel advisory was only the first out of three levels of travel alerts. After travel advisory came travel warning and travel ban.
However, the recent terrorist incidents should warrant a more alerted approach by security apparatus given that Indonesia will host two international events this year, namely the Asian Games and the IMF-World Bank annual meeting.
Currently, the number of foreign tourists visit from January to March 2018 rose 14.87 per cent to 3.6 million visits if compared to same period last year.
The government had set an ambitious plan to welcome 20 million foreign tourists by 2019. Tourism industry is one of the key priorities for the administration of President Joko Widodo.
Written by Elisa Valenta, email: elisa.valenta@theinsiderStories.com