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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Deserted Bali fears for future
Empty beach in Bali
The number of tourists has plummeted since the attack

It is three o'clock in the afternoon and guide Nyoman is taking his first group of tourists of the day to see the Gitgit waterfall in northern Bali.

The number of visitors to this, one of Bali's most dramatic natural attractions, has plummeted since the attack on Kuta at the weekend.


Without tourism life will be very hard, life will stop

Balinese tour operator
"Last week we had 200 people a day, but now we have only 80," Nyoman says.

He and the other guides at the waterfall are now working just one day a week each, and are worried about what the future holds.

"Tourism is my livelihood. It's my life," he says.

'Life will stop'

Bali relies on tourism to keep its economy afloat. Some 20% of its workforce is involved in the industry and many others depend on it indirectly.

Police at the scene of the blast
Investigators are desperately searching for clues

The island used to welcome more than one million tourists each year - but that was before the bombing.

Now the Balinese are worried that many foreign visitors will not come.

Tour operator Nyoman Sumantra says: "If tourists do not come back Bali will be empty like it was 20 years ago.

"Without tourism life will be very hard, life will stop."

No crowds

There are signs that things are slowing down at other tourist haunts.

At the Banjar Hot Springs, there are just a handful of people bathing in the sulphurous waters, when normally the pools would be full.

Click here for a map of the area

The lack of crowds might be good news for the tourists, but it's an unwelcome sight for the people who depend on their custom.

All the talk among the tour guides at Banjar is of the Kuta bomb and what it will mean for Bali.

And the hawkers along the path to the springs are struggling to sell any of their souvenirs.

The price of a colourful sarong drops the further along the tourists walk.

Going to waste

In nearby Lovina, a popular spot for lunch by the black sand beach has more waiters than diners.

The Tanjung Alam restaurant has a lavish buffet laid out for tourists but most of the food looks likely to go to waste.

It has seen a 40% drop in custom since the attack, according to the restaurant's marketing manager, Made Budayana.

"Most people here are very sad as this is very bad for tourism and the economy in Bali," he says.

By the beach in Lovina one could be forgiven for forgetting that the heart of Kuta had been torn out by Saturday's attack.

Indeed there is little physical sign anywhere, barring the ubiquitous red and white flags at half-mast, that anything bad has happened in Bali.

In these troubled times, Balinese are trying to be optimistic about their future.

Nyoman Arya, manager of the Tanjung Alam says: "We hope that tourists will come as soon as possible... once the government knows who carried out the attack."



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17 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
17 Oct 02 | Business
17 Oct 02 | Business
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15 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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