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Tourism Industry Writes President Bush

Indonesian Tourism Industry Delivers a Letter to U.S. President During Bali Stopover.

(10/22/2003) Masyarakat Pariwisata Indonesia (MPI) - the Indonesia Tourism Council took the opportunity of President Bush's brief stopover in Bali on October 22, 2003, to deliver America's Chief Executive a message.

In an advertisement placed in the Country's largest English language newspaper - The Jakarta Post, Mr. Ponco Sutowo, the Chairman of the MPI and writing on behalf of the Indonesian tourism industry, signed an open letter to President Bush calling on him to urgently review the current system of international travel advisories that "cause untold misery for the victims of terror, long after any actual terrorist attack."

balidiscovery.com has reprinted the entire text of Mr. Sutowo's letter below:



Open Letter to President of the United States of America


Mr. George W. Bush

President of the United States of America



Dear President Bush:

Indonesia's tourism community bids you "Selamat Datang" to Indonesia. May your brief visit to Bali be productive and the experience entices you to visit again, to see more of the 17,000 beautiful islands comprising our nation.

In our prayers for peace and better understanding among all nations, we join both you and President Megawati in your calls for cooperation in the war on terror, and in efforts to end the pointless loss of life and destruction of property that result from terrorists' acts.

On behalf of Indonesia's tourism community, we ask that you exercise the tremendous power and responsibility of your office to review current travel advisories urging your fellow American's to defer non-essential travel to Indonesia.

In this urgent request we ask you to consider:

The war on terror is an international conflict. After September 11, 2001, the world did not declare New York and the United States as unsafe to visit. This would have punished the victims and played into the hands of terrorists' aims. As terrorist targets, the people of New York, Washington, Nairobi, Jakarta, Bali, and others - have all been equally victimized.

The battle against terrorism is a shared responsibility. When every nation is a potential target of terror, it is wrong to single out individual nations, like Indonesia, and issue such warnings. These negative travel advisories are equivalent to a tourism trade embargo by your country against Indonesia.

Indonesia is an ally in the war on terror. Your administration has praised Indonesia's police and judicial response to the October 12, 2002, Bali bombings, citing it as an excellent example of international war on terror. President Megawati and her government are committed to eradicate terror.

We now call on you, asking to be treated as a true ally in this important struggle. The current travel advisories - which are highly prejudicial to our tourism industry, a fundamentally important source of badly needed foreign exchange for Indonesia's economy should be reconsidered.

Mr. President, courage is the first weapon in the war against those who resort to terror in an attempt to disrupt the very fabric of our lives. The millions of Indonesians who derive their incomes from tourism ask you to courageously take the lead in revising the current travel advisory system that continues to cause untold misery for the victims of terror, long after any actual terrorist attack.

In its stead, together we must create objective international criteria for public safety and security against which all travel destinations can equally be measured.

As allies in this struggle we ask that you remove the current travel advisories prejudicial to both our travel industries in order that the long tradition of friendship through tourism between the U.S.A. and Indonesia may be preserved.



Respectfully,

(signed)

Pontjo Sutowo

Chairman

MPI (Masyarakat Pariwisata Indonesia-Indonesia Tourism Council)

Supported by the tourism industry in Indonesia.