Little Bali Hotel & Resort Company founding member Adrian Forsyth has again called on the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade to rethink its current Bali travel advisory.
Forsyth’s comments follow the DFAT decision last week to downgrade its warning level on Kenya from a grade four ‘reconsider your need to travel’ advisory to a grade three (exercise a) ‘high degree of caution’ recommendation.
The DFAT ruling on Kenya follows the cessation of recent political unrest and violence in the African nation which, erupting in January, resulted in the deaths of more than 1000 people.
Forsyth, who manages the Bali Garden Hotel in Tuban and the Samsara Hotel & Spa in Kuta, said he and other Bali operators had been shell shocked at the speed with which the Kenya advisory had been downgraded.
“The Australian government attitude towards Bali continues to amaze us all,” he said.
“Just last December Bali hosted the United Nations conference on climate change which involved government ministers and heads of state from around the world – including the new Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
“If it is safe enough for the PM to come here, why does DFAT continue to warn Australians against travelling to Bali?
“Perhaps if everyone changed their name to Rudd, DFAT might have a change in heart.”
Forsyth said it was ironic that while the current level four advisory had stood in place for several years, the destination was now receiving more Australian visitors than at any other time.
“We were collectively bemused that when terrorists attacked London the DFAT travel advisory to the UK remained the same,” he said.
“The same applied to the USA following 9/11.”
Chairman of the South Kuta Beach Business Association’s Security Committee, Forsyth said a great deal of work and resources continued to be poured into Bali’s key tourist areas in order to make the destination as safe as possible.
“Bali has invested heavily, financially, time wise and with manpower and technology, to make the destination much safer,” he said.
“Local authorities regularly sweep all local residential areas to ensure that all people living in the area have the right to be there and police posts and vehicle inspection points have been erected on many streets entering the Kuta/Legian conurbation.
“Local community based security team numbers have also been increased and CCTV cameras installed throughout South Kuta.
“The local Police Force has also devised and instigated a security audit for all hotels which has now been running for four years and which is taken very seriously by the hoteliers.”
Official Indonesian government tourism statistics released earlier this year show Australian arrival figures to Bali for the period January to December 2007 increased to 204,421, a more than 70 per cent increase over the 117, 969 figure recorded for the same period in 2006.