The Head of the Bali Promotion Board (BTB), Ngurah Wijaya, has heralded the shooting of the internationally wanted terrorist Noordin M. Top by police in Central Java on Thursday, September 17, 2009, as a "significant influence in favor of Indonesian tourism."
Quoted by the national news agency ANTARA, Wijaya said" "Not only Bali, but on a regional and nation level – this represents an excellent opportunity for us all without relaxing our preparedness. Just imagine, a single bomb attack has the potential of halting the very heart beat of the tourism industry for an extended period. In Indonesia there are hundreds of tourism destination areas that can (now) be developed in a safe and orderly fashion."
Wijaya related how the island of Bali is very dependent on tourism, an industry which surpasses agriculture which once served as the economic backbone of the Balinese people. The Bali bombing attacks of 2002 and 2005 resulted in thousands of people losing their employment.
Noordin M. Top, a Malaysian national, is blamed for organizing local cells of Indonesian nationals to carry out bombing attacks which have caused hundreds of deaths to both domestic and international tourist visitors to Bali.
According to Wijaya, dating from the start of 2009, there has been strong improvements in Bali's tourism industry, both on the domestic and international fronts.
Wijaya added: "During the Lebaran period the hotel, airline and other forms of transportation report occupancy levels have increased. If all is safe and orderly, all aspects of Bali's tourism industry will benefit including business owners, their employees and handicraft makers."
Wijaya said only few factors can cause a decrease in the coming high season for tourism. Those factors are security disturbances including a terrorist attack, large scale infectious disease outbreaks and natural disasters.
The Chief of the BTB discounted the potential impact of the global financial crisis, saying this was insufficient to eliminate people desire to visit exotic and famous places around the world. At the very worst, he explained, people will reduce the level of shopping, choose hotels that are less expensive and eat at simpler dining venues. He said that while Bali has felt some of the effects of the global recession, the situation is gradually improving.
Wijaya expressed the appreciation of his organization to the Indonesian police who managed to kills the leader of the Al Qaeda Movement in Southeast Asia, Noordin M. Top in Solo, Central Java. "This has to be appreciated (by the people) and serve to increase (the police's) performance. We are also committed to help the police by giving them any information they require," said Wijaya.
Bali Police On Guard
BeritaBali.com reports that the Bali police have intensified their vigilance in the wake of the slaying of Noordin M. Top. This assurance was issued by Bali's Chief of Police, General Sutisna on Thursday, September 19, 2009, at his headquarters in Denpasar.
General Sutisna said his officers were keeping a careful watch on side roads across Bali which are preferred by terrorists when they move personnel or equipment. Sutisna added: "We are on guard in connection with the raid on the terrorists in Solo, there are still other terrorists."
The Chief of Police told the press how his department is working with local fishermen to report any movement of passengers or goods which raises suspicions.
Police have also increased surveillance of local gold stores which have become a favored target of terrorists seeking to raise money for their operations.
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