Governor Made Mangku Pastika has been hard at work, trying to quell fears of tourists with plans to holiday in Bali amid a possible eruption from Mount Agung.
The governor stated on Wednesday that the island is still safe for tourists, both domestic and foreign.
That said, he did rebuke tour operators who are supposedly still offering outings to Mt. Agung, trying to “cash in” on the crisis.
Since Friday, Mt. Agung has been at the highest alert status for an eruption. Tremors have been frequent—amounting to hundreds daily—and a 4.2 and 4.3 earthquake were recorded near the volcano this week. Estimates put the amount of people who have evacuated from the danger zone and the surrounding area at around 120,000.
But the governor has been quick to say that there is no threat to people out of the danger zone and tourists should not be afraid to enjoy Bali.
“So tourism should be okay. For our brothers and sisters from abroad, Bali is still safe,” the governor said on Friday, as quoted by Detik.
“The dangerous area is just 12 kilometers from the crater, so if an eruption occurs, the danger is only within that radius,” he said.
Pastika added that there are still plenty of tourist attractions on the island that are still safe for travelers to visit, even many still within Karangasem—the regency home to Mt. Agung, which is about 75 kilometers from the tourist hub of Kuta.
“Bali is more than just Mt. Agung. Even in Karangasem, there are still 64 safe tours attractions, amongst the 80 that are in the regency of Mt. Agung.”
However, what many holiday-makers are worried about is if the volcano were to erupt, how ash would affect flights and if an eruption would render them stuck in Bali. The airport is currently at an orange alert level—the status was upgraded on Tuesday. Plans have been made to divert arrivals to 10 other airports in Indonesia should the airport’s status get upgraded to red, forcing the closure of Ngurah Rai International.
Whether or not the airport would be impacted by an eruption really depends on the wind, says Pastika.
“It depends on the direction of the wind. But if the eruption happened now, it would not effect Ngurah Rai Airport,” Pastika said.
But not everyone on the island holds the same position as the governor–who seems to just be doing his job to look after Bali’s biggest, money-making tourism industry. Holiday-makers should be taking into account more than just their own safety when deciding whether they should still come vacation in Bali, argue some.