Jakarta (ANTARA News)- Mount Agung, located in Karangasem District, Bali Province, erupted again early this month, but it had no impact on the tourism industry on the famous resort island.

The tourism industry was unaffected as the eruption was relatively of low intensity, and the volcano was quite far from most of the attractive tourist destinations.

The 3,142-meter-high Mount Agung had been rumbling since August 2017 and had erupted in November. The volcano later became relatively calm until the most recent eruptions, which occurred on July 2, when it sent out burning lava up to 1.5 kilometers high.

According to Devy Kamil Syahbana of the Center for Volcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG), the condition of Mount Agung was still unstable, and it was likely to erupt again at low intensity.

Records since 1800 reveal that Mount Agung had experienced four mega eruptions, namely in 1908, 1823, 1843, and 1963.

Following the latest eruptions, the PVMBG had declared the alert status of Mount Agung at third level and has ordered people to stay away from a radius of four kilometers from the mountain`s top until now.

"People living outside the 4-kilometer radius zone are urged to remain calm," he added.

Despite the volcanic activities, the Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (Asita) believes that the tourism industry in Bali is not affected by the strombolian eruption.

Based on the experiences during the past eruptions of Mount Agung in June, the eruption on July 2 would not have an impact on the tourist arrivals in Bali, Ketut Ardana, chairman of Asita Bali, stated on July 7.

Tourist arrivals in Bali remained normal despite the strombolian eruption, he remarked, citing facts that tourist destinations in nine districts of Bali, such as the Kuta Beach and Pandawa Beach, were still crowded by domestic and foreign tourists.

He noted that the PVMBG had announced that the danger zone stretched a radius of four kilometers from the mountain`s top.

Bali`s favorite tourist destinations, such as Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Lake Beratan Bedugul, Tampak Siring Palace, Bali Safari and Marine Park, Garuda Wisnu Kencana, Sanur and Kuta beaches, Tanjung Benoa, Goa Gajah, and Nusa Penida, are quite far from the volcano and not affected by the increase in volcanic activity at Mount Agung.

"Hence, it has no effect on the tourism in Bali, which has set a target of attracting 6.5 million foreign tourists this year," he emphasized.

He is optimistic that tourism in Bali remains unaffected, as the danger zone is only within the 4-kilometer radius of Mount Agung`s crater, while the rest of Bali is safe.

In fact, domestic and foreign tourists continue to visit Besakih Temple, situated some 7 kilometers from the erupting Mount Agung.

Despite the condition of Mount Agung being unstable and eruption likely to happen anytime with low intensity, it poses no barrier for the local and foreign tourists to visit Besakih Temple, known as Bali`s "Mother Temple" for over a thousand years.

Situated at a height of one thousand meters on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung, Besakih is an artistic and unique complex that comprises at least 86 temples, including the main Pura Penataran Agung or the Great Temple.

"I certainly want to visit Besakih Temple. Although the temple is only seven kilometers away from the erupting volcano, it is not a problem for me," Pablo, a tourist from Chile, remarked here on Saturday.

The volcano spewed white cloud up to 200-300 meters into the air on July 7 morning, but Pablo revealed that his plans to visit the Besakih Temple remained unchanged.

"There are also many active volcanoes in Chile, and earthquakes are frequent in our country. I feel it is something normal. I am not afraid, as I understand the steps to be taken in a dangerous situation," he noted.

A domestic tourist, Ulfa Dwi from Probolinggo, East Java, remarked that her family and she visited Besakih Temple, as they were keen to get a closer look at the condition of Mount Agung.

"We usually see Mount Agung on television, but now we can see it directly from the temple," she added.

Meanwhile, Minister of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Eko Putro Sandjojo visited Mount Agung evacuation camp at Besakih Village of Karangasem District in Bali recently.

The minister delivered humanitarian aids and held a dialogue with the evacuees.

"In general, the evacuees expressed gratitude for the government`s aid and concern," Sandjojo stated.

The minister asked the local administration to make a list of evacuees who wanted to join a free training on hydroponic and sewing and to spend their time in the shelters.

Currently, as many as 3.3 thousand evacuees of Mount Agung eruption are sheltered in 29 camps in six subdistricts in Karangasem.
(T.F001/A/KR-BSR/A014) 14-07-2018 22:58:02

Reporter: Fardah Assegaf
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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