‘Bali is safe’: Indonesian president urges tourists to holiday in Bali

A Snowman at a local restaurant in Ubud. Ubud-Bali. December 22nd, 2017. Photo : Alan Putra Amount Agung effects, Bali PHOTO by Amelia Rosa SUPPLIED by Jewel Topsfield THE AGE WORLD 23rd December 2017 Abraham A Noya (R) and Shadikin Akbar (L) at Kuta beach where they offers surf lesson and rented surfboard to tourists. Business has been slightly picking up in recent days after a very slow couple weeks. Kuta beach-Bali. December 22nd, 2017. Photo : Alan Putra Amount Agung effects, Bali PHOTO by Amelia Rosa SUPPLIED by Jewel Topsfield THE AGE WORLD 23rd December 2017
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Wayan Sadri a street hawker in Kuta. For over a month she barely make a sale because tourists number was down to mount Agugn eruption. Kuta-Bali, December 22nd 2017. Photo : Alan Putra Amount Agung effects, Bali PHOTO by Amelia Rosa SUPPLIED by Jewel Topsfield THE AGE WORLD 23rd December 2017

I Gede Agus Setiawan a staff at a tattoo parlour in popies lane 1. Business been so quiet because of mount Agung Eruption not a singgle customer for over 2 weeks. Kuta-Bali, December 22nd 2017. Photo : Alan Putra Amount Agung effects, Bali PHOTO by Amelia Rosa SUPPLIED by Jewel Topsfield THE AGE WORLD 23rd December 2017

Janet De Neefe at one of her restaurant Casa Luna in Ubud-Bali. December 22nd, 2017. Photo : Alan Putra Amount Agung effects, Bali PHOTO by Amelia Rosa SUPPLIED by Jewel Topsfield THE AGE WORLD 23rd December 2017

Bali: It’s been two weeks since an n (or anyone else) has been inked at Low Rider tattoo studio in Kuta’s iconic Poppies I, a laneway of bars and cheap guest houses usually choked with backpackers juggling surfboards and hawkers peddling fans and bracelets.

It takes two days to create a full sleeve of the popular realist tattoos – apprentice tattooist I Gede Agus Sutiawan shows us an incredibly detailed black-and-white lion on his leg – and n tourists often book before they arrive in Bali to lock-in an appointment with an artist.

But Agus says ns have cancelled appointments, explaining they couldn’t get volcano insurance cover after Mount Agung, Bali’s largest and most sacred mountain, awoke for the first time since 1964 and began belching steam and ash.

Walk-ins, accounting for about 50 per cent of Low Rider’s business, have also evaporated.

The erupting Mt Agung does not pose a safety threat beyond a 10 kilometre evacuation zone around the volcano: the tourist playground of Kuta is 75 kilometres away.

But volcanic ash, made of tiny fragments of jagged rock, minerals and glass, can cause plane engines to seize: in 1982 all four engines of a British Airways Boeing 747 failed after it flew through an ash cloud from Indonesia’s erupting Mt Galunggung.

Last month Bali’s international airport was forced to close for two days, stranding thousands of travellers and throwing Bali’s tourism industry into turmoil.

“This December has been the quietest ever. We have never not had a customer for two weeks,” says Agus, who kills time playing cards on the tiles of Low Rider’s entrance.

Bali is spluttering back to life for the peak holiday season between Christmas and New Year but the whole island is hurting.

About 70,000 Balinese who lived within Mt Agung’s 10km red zone will see in the new year in cramped refugee camps.

The n Government this month announced it would contribute $600,000 to help provide evacuees with clean drinking water, shelter, sanitation services and medical care.

The resort island’s tourism industry – Bali contributes about 40 percent of Indonesia’s total tourism revenue – has been devastated.

China, the biggest source of tourists to Bali ( is second), has issued travel warnings, telling its people not to go to Bali until January 4. Flights have been suspended from China.

Whilst not quite as drastic, other countries, including , have also issued travel alerts. “Since 21 November 2017, eruptions at Mount Agung have caused disruptions to flights and airport operations,” the n government warns in its latest update on December 20.

The Indonesian Tourism Ministry estimates $US1.2 billion in potential losses.

On Friday President Joko Widodo held his cabinet meeting in Bali, tweeting photos of himself strolling barefoot along Kuta beach (which had been scrubbed of rubbish ahead of his visit) and posing in selfies with crowds of people. Bali Aman, silakan liburan Ke Bali. Sore ini Pantai Kuta ramai sekali coba lihat, ramai, ramai sekali -Jkw pic.twitter老域名购买/8W0yJ2TXu9??? Joko Widodo (@jokowi) December 22, 2017