BALI has seen a significant dip in numbers amid threats of a volcano eruption that surfaced last month. Mount Agung has been trembling for some time, and tourists have been warned to keep away from the restricted zone surrounding the volcano.
While other, more commercialized parts of Bali are deemed safe for tourists, the number of inbound visitors are said to be down by an estimated 20 to 30 percent as some 70,000 tourists put their plans on hold, according to Vice. On top of that, hotel reservations are down.
Some have argued that the fears of Mount Agung are unfounded and that the media frenzy surrounding its imminent eruption are causing a dent in tourism.
Last month, Bali’s tourism department urged tourists to continue visiting, assuring them that the island was still safe to visit.
The December holiday period is usually a popular time for tourists from the West, and authorities are concerned that attention around the volcano could affect their year-end turn-out.
Volcanic tremors and billowing white smoke sighted caused alarm when news broke out last month, prompting the evacuation of some over 100,000 villagers from the paddy fields at the base of the forested slopes of the mountain.
Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country. Many of these show high levels of activity but it can be weeks or even months before an actual eruption.
Ash clouds from volcanic eruptions have disrupted tourism in Bali and other parts of Indonesia in recent years. Hundreds of domestic and international flights were disrupted in 2016 when a volcano erupted on Bali’s neighboring Lombok island, sending columns of ash and debris into the air.