Asia & The Far East
The long road back
The Bali blasts shocked the world. The pulse of a tourist hot spot was suddenly silenced in one fell act of terror.Professor Dr Pitana, director of Bali Tourism Authority explained that there are three main aspects that the industry, and Balinese in general feel as the direct and instantaneous effect of the bomb blast: image, a fall in occupancy, and slumping local economy. "We know and promote Bali as one of the safest destination in Indonesia," he said. "Now after the bombing, the image has been greatly tarnished." The aftermath of the bombings saw the tourists flee and their departure, according to Pitana, has hit occupancy rates - falling from 70.18 per cent before the blasts to 29.64 per cent after. The plummeting percentages meant that the economy took the quick route to the bottom as well. Pitana, however, is a man not given to pessimism and he feels that the industry will be back on track in six months. "I may sound too optimistic," he said. "The reason is that the tragedy was caused by external factor, and not internal one." Whatever the next six months brings for the region and this island Dr Pitana is sure of one thing. "We must be honest. Tourists must now the true state of the situation in Bali."