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Fear's the Foe

Senior Industry Representatives See Current Slump as a 'Crisis of Faith.'

(12/9/2001) Would you like to make a significant personal contribution to the ongoing 'War on Terror?' - Want to frustrate those despicable lower life forms who engineered the events of September 11 and who now take perverted delight in a world economy maimed by their deeds? - Are you ready to fight back?

The answer is simple and at hand: just take a trip.

That's what the senior representatives of Singapore Airlines, the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), the Association of Indonesian Travel Agents (ASITA), the starred hotel association of Bali - Casa Grande, provincial tourism officials, and the Chief of Police for Bali who participated in a dialogue with invited members of the international press at Bali's International Convention Center (BICC) on Wednesday, December 5, would like you to do. Preferably, with Bali as your destination.

Speaking with hosted journalists from Denmark, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Germany and Greece, it was generally concluded that the current downturn in international travel was essentially a "Crisis of Faith." Echoing this view were comments from Mr. Gerry Oh, Vice President of Marketing Communications for Singapore Airlines who called on every element of the international travel industry to join forces to get the word out to the international press that destinations like Bali remain absolutely peaceful and safe for international travelers. Fellow participants in the assembled panel all underlined to the journalists that Bali has consistently maintained a safe and positive environment for travelers from all countries.

Moderating the session was Mr. A.A. Gde Rai of the Bali Tourism Board who indicated that discussions are underway to consider launching a petition campaign aimed at President George Bush and calling on his government to follow the example of many other developed countries who acknowledge the uninterrupted prevailing peace and calm in Bali. Currently, U.S. citizens are advised to defer travel to all of Indonesia, ignoring that many areas remain perfectly safe for American tourists, a move that has badly affected tourism flows on the island.

In separate comments to the local press, Mr. Rico Yahya of the PHRI has hinted that a prolonged slump in hotel occupancies in Bali, lasting into 2002, could result in the loss of 15,000-20,000 job in Bali's hotel industry alone.

Meanwhile, officials at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport have reported that passenger through flows, which average 6,000 per day, are now below the 2,000 mark.