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Minister Ardika Canvasses Australia

Culture and Tourism Minister Renews Ties with a Near Neighbor.

(2/24/2003) Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. I Gede Ardika concluded a four day visit to Australia during the week of February 16, 2003, describing his visit as a "major stepping stone to success in Bali's tourism recovery."

In a visit that included stops in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, the Minister met with local leaders of tourism, aviation, government, and the media to brief them on Indonesia's progress in recovery efforts and to detail them on what Indonesia has done to improve security in the wake of the October 12th terrorist attack in Bali.

"There is enormous support in Australia for Bali. The feeling of goodwill is present everywhere you go and I am confident that we will see this translate into increased tourist numbers through 2003. All in all, the outlook is quite encouraging," Mr. Ardika said.

Addressing the issue of security, the Minister added, "people are very impressed with the measures that have been taken to improve safety and security and there is a coordinated effort by the tourism industry and airlines with the support of the Australian Government to build tourism to Bali."

A Week of Good News

"It was certainly a week of good news for Bali in Australia. The Prime Minister, Mr. John Howard, announced that the Australian Government would fund US$ 6 million worth of improved health services for Bali. The Foreign Minister, Mr. Andrew Downer, announced he would review Australia's travel advisory on Indonesia and Bali following my meetings with him in Canberra on Tuesday (18/2)."

"At the same time, Air Paradise commenced flights to Melbourne and Perth; Qantas expressed confidence in the market; and Garuda Indonesia reaffirmed its commitment to increased services as of April."

"I have also met with the leaders of the travel insurance industry and they assure me that policies are available for Bali at normal premiums. All in all, it has been a significant week for Bali."

Travel Leaders to Bali

In the week immediately following the Minister's visit to Australia, a delegation of ranking representatives from the Australian tourism industry will visit Bali within the context of increasing tourist flows to the island. A group of 20 "highly influential" people from Australia's tourism industry and government are being hosted by the Indonesian government where they will meet leaders of the tourism industry and view first-hand the safety and security situation in Bali.