Bali tries to convince tourists to stay

Bali tourism authorities are now working to convince visitors to stay on the resort island amid increasing seismic activity at Mount Agung, which has forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

Bali Tourism Hospitality spokesman Dewa Gede Ngurah Byomantara said that only 2 per cent of the entire island would be affected in the case of a volcanic eruption.

"The volcanic activity at Mount Agung should not affect other tourist spots," Byomantara said in Denpasar on Tuesday, adding that those who enjoyed hiking could still go to Mount Batur, Mount Batukaru or Mount Abang.

Three major tourist spots have felt the impact of the rumbling volcano, namely Besakih Temple, Tulamben beach and Tirta Gangga.

Byomantara assured that other major areas in the island, including coastal areas like Sanur, Kuta, Nusa Dua and also Ubud, were not affected.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association's (PHRI) Bali chapter, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, said he had been tracking the movement of tourists to safer areas on the island, noting an increase in occupancy rate at boutique hotels near Dasa Temple in Karangasem.

"In October, the occupancy rate of non-star hotels [near Dasa Temple in] is usually about 50 per cent, but it is currently at 60 per cent," said Tjokorda as reported by, adding that October was customarily a slow season for tourism

He believed the visitors of Tulamben Beach would also move to other coastal areas like Kuta and Nusa Dua.