The downgrading of the Australian government warning on travel to Indonesia has had almost no impact on tourism, industry operators say. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) advisory was downgraded from “reconsider your need to travel” to “exercise a high degree of caution” more than two months ago, but the change has had negligible impact.
In fact, visitor numbers were at a high before the advisory was downgraded, with Australian figures for the January to March period up 26 per cent on last year, making Australia the No.1 market for Bali. Official figures beyond March are not yet available, but some operators say their numbers have gone down slightly in recent months, due to competition from other destinations.
The marketing manager for Visit Indonesia, Craig Gibbons, says Bali was not affected by the high-level DFAT warning, with Australians seeing it as a safe place to travel. ”The DFAT warning didn’t really change anything,” he says.
Gibbons says the only noticeable outcome of the downgrade has been a rise in conference bookings, with companies now able to get insurance coverage for Indonesia.
This article is an excerpt from Jane E. Fraser’s weekly travel column in The Sun Herald, Sydney.