On the first day of Ngurah Rai Airport temporarily closed (Monday 27/11/2017), there were buses deployed that will carry passengers who can not fly, some are to be back to the hotel, some are to be dispatched to Surabaya. The canceled flight passengers (a reporter of this ITN was one of them) seemed crowded but solid and the officers were busy serving. (Photo: YD)

On the first day of Ngurah Rai Airport temporarily closed (Monday 27/11/2017), there were buses deployed that will carry passengers who can not fly, some are to be back to the hotel, some are to be dispatched to Surabaya. The canceled flight passengers (a reporter of this ITN was one of them) seemed crowded but solid and the officers were busy serving. (Photo: YD)

Jakarta, (ITN-IndonesiaTouristNews): Tourism Minister Arief Yahya appreciates the speed and readiness of Bali’s tourism industry.  As early as 07.15 Bali time, Monday, 27 November 2017, Ngurah Rai International airport authorities announced the airport was closed for up to 18 hours, the industry immediately checked on the situation in the field. We should also salute the Minister and the tourism industry on the same matter.

As has been concluded when the Minister Arief Yahya held a meeting at Bali Tourism Promotion Board (BPPD) Bali some time ago, the industry is prepared to anticipate in case the airport closes. Tourists affected due to airline cancellation, and with no flights out of Bali, will be given 1 night free accommodation, with the next night pay only 50%.

“Great! And this is how the Balinese hotel industry’s rapid response should be. Don’t count loss profits first, but serve customers who are panicking and cannot fly home, this is much more important,” said Arief Yahya.

Actually, Minister Arief believes that if the industry do it well, the future impact will be very good for Bali.  Travelers may be more loyal, appreciate and even be fanatical of Bali. The destination of Bali will be more appealing to the eyes of tourists around the world.

“We should serve our guests as our fellow human beings, with humanity and humanism. It is not good to talk business in the midst of a disaster,” said Arief Yahya.

The Minister said If we give something, God does not sleep. God will reciprocate with multiple rewards. “We should empathize, and think what if it happens to us and our family! The hotels, industry, and government should sincerely help, ensuring a comfortable atmosphere that is very meaningful and deep!” he explained.

When he was leading the TTC Crisis Center Team meeting at Gedung Sapta Pesona, the Ministry of Tourism office (Kemenpar), Monday morning, Arief Yahya was relieved to receive a report from the Bali Tourism Hospitality (BTH) -the other term for the MOT Crisis Center. Minister Arief also thanked the tourism entrepreneurs in Bali.

BTH has prepared small 12 seater buses ready to help tourists from Ngurah Rai Airport to return to their hotels.  Bali’s hotel industry is providing  1 night free and a 50% discount for the next day to affected travelers who canceled or who wish to extend.

The decision is ease the burden of foreign and national tourists, who cannot fly because the airport is closed. “Not being able to go home is not their fault! Nor is our hope. This is because of nature,” said Arief Yahya.

The hospitality industry in Bali began to provide assistance to tourists affected by airline cancellations due to the closing of Ngurah Rai Airport Bali since Monday morning, at 07.15 WITA (27/11) due to the impact of Mount Agung eruption.

To alleviate the psychological burden of tourists, Bali travel agencies has deployed its officers to provide assistance to tourists until they decide whether to stay on vacation in Bali, proceed to another destination, or decide to go home.

In addition, 15 shelters or assembly points for travelers affected have been prepared.  They include: Grand Inna Bali Beach Hotel, ITDC Nusa Dua, Krisna Sunset Sunset, Krisna Culinary Tour, Taman Ayu, Bali Bird Park, Bali Adventure Tours, Bali Safari and Marine Park, Kertalangu Tourism Village, True Bali Experience, Bencingah Puri Ubud, Pod Chocolate, Taman Sari, Ubud Adventure Center and Pod Chocolate Cafe Sunset.

TTC Crisis Center or the Bali Tourism Hospitality (BTH) also reported that each airline company has moved quickly in assisting the canceled passengers, among others, providing hotel accommodation for passengers who are forced to extend.  Some gave money,  such as Jet Star, of Rp 150.000 to each passenger affected by the cancellation.

To avoid disappointment, passengers who will depart from Jakarta to Bali, it is recommended to transfer to Djuanda Airport Surabaya then continued by road  via bus which is ready to deliver passengers to Bali.

    Tourist Visa

Ease of visa handling is also provided by Bali Immigration Officers. A total of 8 foreign tourists, consisting of 1 foreign tourist each from the United States, France and Germany along with 4 Russian tourists, come to the immigration service counters to extend their visa periods that were to end today and were immediately served by the deployed officers.

Earlier Tourism Minister Arief Yahya also called on the aviation and hospitality industry in Bali to give special discounts to tourists following the mounting volcanic activity of Mount Agung since Saturday (25/11). Especially since the increasing volcanic activity of Mount Agung in Bali has caused the closure of Ngurah Rai International Airport at 07.15 local time for up to 18 hours.

Minister Arief Yahya asked all parties to make sure that passengers affected by flight cancellation and forced to check-in at hotels be given a special discount of up to 50% and make it easier to arrange visa extensions for travelers without charge.

“The one in Lombok is the same, right?” said Minister Arief.

To low cost carriers, the Minister hoped travelers will not be charged flight cancellation or rescheduling fees. If the tourist visa has expired, it will be automatically renewed 1 month. “Please help.  This is important,” he said.

Minister Arief Yahya also appealed to airport managers to continue to update their information related to the opening / closing of the airport and as well as the readiness of the Airport to serve tourists, especially Ngurah Rai Airport, Lombok, and Banyuwangi Airport. ***