Martin Regg Cohn writing for the Toronto Star claims "engineering economic recovery after a terror bombing is similar to bouncing back from a tsunami."
Drawing lessons from Bali's struggle to recover from the terrorist bombing of October 2002, the article emphasized that Bali's "respect for the dead, its readiness to get on with life" played critical roles in the Island's steady progress and return to normal business times.
Including interviews and insights from Dr. I Gede Pitana, the Head of Bali's Tourism Office at the time of the blast and now a professor of tourism studies at Bali's Udayana University, and John Koldowski, Managing Director of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) – Strategic Intelligence Center - the article explores ways in which Bali strove to get back on course, both economically and psychologically.
A People-Focused Recovery
PATA's Koldowski believes Bali's strong commitment to traditional religious values, exemplified by numerous ceremonies to commemorate the dead, eased local anxieties and subsequent community-based efforts to restore the health of its tourism industry hold important lessons for Phuket and other tsunami-affected areas trying to recover from what has been described as the "greatest natural disaster of modern times."
The Toronto Star article said, "Bali rebuilt its brand by tenaciously beating the drums of discount tourism and reassuring people that this tropical paradise was ready to receive them again in a safe environment. It boosted security, used the down time to upgrade facilities, worked with airlines to restore cancelled flights and sought out new markets. Now, business is back. Tourist arrivals have returned to the pre-2002 level of about 1.5 million visitors a year and hotels are once again fully booked in high season.
But the recovery is not quite complete. Long-haul tourists from Europe and North America are still keeping their distance, forcing Bali to drum up business closer to home from markets like Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and China."
The article also includes comments from the Chairman of the Bali Hotel Association (BHA), Robert Kelsall, and Putu Antara, the Head of the Bali Tourism Board.
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