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Bali Tourism

Bali tourism gets OK back from US gov’t

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Yusof Sulaiman  May 27, 2008

Bali tourism, after having been in the dark shadows of terrorist activities, may soon be on the road to recovery. The US government has endorsed the Indonesian tourism capital by lifting its almost decade-long travel advisory.

The move is expected to have a domino effect on Bali's tourism, with other countries following the US action.

"The US government has lifted the warning due to objective improvements made by the Indonesian government in its current security situation," said an official statement from the US embassy in Indonesia, emailed to media organizations.

In 2000, the US State Department issued a travel warning following several bombings in the country's capital, Jakarta.

The twin Bali bombings in 2002 resulted in the death of more than 240 foreign tourists, mostly Australians on holiday in the island who died as a result of the explosions, blamed on the regional Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network.

Every year since then both the Australian and Indonesian governments have held a remembrance ceremony in Bali as a mark of respect to those who died in the bombings. However, Australia, which claims 88 Australian tourists were killed in the first Bali bombing, is yet to lift its travel advisory.

The Indonesian government has since then prosecuted and convicted winning praise from the international community due to Bali's attractions as a holiday destination.

"The Indonesian government has disrupted, arrested and prosecuted numerous terrorist elements," said US Ambassador Cameron Hume, adding there has been "significant" improvements in the country's security situation.

Ambassador Hume said he expects more US businessmen, tourists and scholars to visit Indonesia following Sunday's announcement, "helping to expand trade, tourism and educational exchange between both countries."

Increased security precautions since the bombings include sweeping cars for bombs using metal detectors at hotels, shopping malls and other public buildings.

In a statement following the US announcement, Dino Djala, spokesman for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said the US move is a very good and positive sign. "It will help remove psychological barriers that have prevented Americans and others from going to Indonesia."

Major General Ansyaad Mbai, Indonesia's anti-terror official, was quoted as saying, "It will push us to be more effective in handling security matters. The US decision would not slow our efforts to battle extremists."

Bali tourism gets OK back from US gov’t
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