Bali is now ‘safe’, but complimentary rooms, shuttles ready just in case

Lake Tamblingan, Tabanan, Bali, Indonesia. Balinese women going to the temple in the morning. Source: Shutterstock

IN recent weeks, volcanic activity around Bali’s Mount Agung has affected flights to and from the resort island, but now the government assures all of the popular tourist areas are safe, while operators have prepared contingency plans in case of an unanticipated eruption.

On Monday, Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati invited businesspeople and tourists to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Bali as Mount Agung was considered no longer a threat, although there was still minor volcanic activity.

According to Sri Mulyani, the country’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has assured an eruption would affect a limited area of Bali, the Jakarta Post reported (via Kompas).

“For those of you who changed your year-end vacation plans [due to Mt. Agung], I encourage you to come to Bali. I have a guarantee that Bali is safe now,” Sri Mulyani said during the Investor Gathering 2017.

“I hope participants of the Investor Gathering will celebrate their vacations in Bali or other [nearby] destinations and spend [New Year] there.”

People watch as Mount Agung spews ash and smoke during an eruption. Source: Antara Foto via Reuters

The minister’s call comes after flights to Bali declined by 30 percent in November and tourists to the destination could perhaps take advantage of the lower-than-usual visitor numbers if they liked to avoid crowds during the festive Christmas and year-end period.

Authorities also said popular tourists areas in Bali such as Tanah Lot, Sanur, Pandawa Beach, Batur Mount, Ubud, Kuta Beach, Padang-Padang Beach, Lovina Beach, Dreamland Beach, and Nusa Dua Beach, would not be affected in the event of an eruption.

Sitting on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

The Mount Agung volcano on Bali island, east of Java, has been spewing smoke and ash intermittently for weeks, forcing the closure of its airport for several days.

And while the conditions are now considered to be generally safe, the Bali Hotels Association and tourism operators have added measures to take care of tourists in case of an eruption.

This includes an evacuation strategy and services to provide help to their guests, such as visa extension assistance, complimentary transportation and rooms, according to the Jakarta Post.

The association’s chairman Ricky Putra said, however, it is best to avoid being within the eight to 10km radius of the volcano’s crater as there was still a warning status declared in the area.