Indonesia sees tourist arrivals dropping after terror attacks

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(May 16): Indonesia is facing the prospect of a decline in foreign tourist arrivals, after a spate of terror attacks this week prompted travel advisories from about a dozen countries.

Tourist arrivals may drop about 1 million this year, as advisories from countries — including Australia, Singapore, the U.S. and Malaysia — to their citizens, may impact travel plans, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya told reporters in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The series of terror attacks is a blow to Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s efforts to double tourist numbers to 20 million by the end of his five-year term in 2019 and boost the sector’s contribution to the economy. Tourist arrivals to Bali, which accounts for more than 40% of the country’s total, fell during the peak Christmas and new year, after a volcano eruption near the island prompted similar travel advisories.

At least 26 people, including 13 militants and their children, were killed in a series of suicide attacks this week in and around Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, according to the Associated Press. The police shot dead four sword-wielding men who attacked a police headquarters in Sumatra province on Wednesday, which also killed a police officer, the agency reported.

A total of 14 million tourists visited Indonesia last year, with more than 5 million holidaymakers arriving in Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport alone, data from the nation’s statistics bureau show. Tourist arrivals jumped 15% to 3.67 million in the first quarter from a year earlier, it said on May 2.