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Ardika: Tourism Improving Despite Election Fears

Culture & Tourism Minister Sees no Fallout in Tourism Sector from National Political Campaign Now Underway.

(3/29/2004) Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. I Gede Ardika, sees the current campaign process leading up to national elections as having no negative effect on tourism arrivals. Moreover, according to the Minister, interim arrival figures from Bali for the month of March demonstrate "an increase of around 9%" (sic) as compared to the preceding month of February.

According to the Minister, quoted in the Indonesian-language newspaper Kompas, foreign direct arrivals to Bali in February averaged 2,900 people each day passing through Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport. Meanwhile, average foreign tourist arrivals for March through March 20, the day before Nyepi celebrations, were averaging 3,100, an increase of 6.8% percent as compared to the month before.

Admitting that he has only had the opportunity to look at Bali's arrival statistics and not the numbers for all the Nation's international gateways, he said he felt the results from Bali help to answer questions regarding the potential negative impact of the election process on tourist arrivals. Obviously pleased with the relative degree of good order to date in the election process, Minister Ardika said, "if this (good order) can be maintained in the second round of the campaign, I am certain there will be no fear to visit Indonesia."