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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Indonesia's tourism 'totally damaged'
Police search the site of the blast in Kuta
Police are still searching the rubble for clues
A top Indonesian tourism official has said the country's travel industry could be "totally damaged" if the police fail soon to catch those responsible for the Bali bombing.

At least 200 people, mostly holiday makers, died when a car bomb exploded outside a nightclub on the island of Bali on Saturday.

About one third of all tourists top Indonesia go to Bali, making it "the soul of tourism" in the country, said Setyanto Santosa, chairman of the Indonesian Tourist Board.

Bali receives 1.7 million tourists a year, or 35% of the 5.2 million people who holiday in Indonesia, Mr Santosa told BBC Radio Five Live.

Australian warning

Australia's government has urged its citizens to leave Indonesia, which is a popular destination for Australian tour firms.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told the Australian parliament on Thursday of intelligence warnings of "disturbing new information of generic threats" to Westerners in Indonesia.

He said the government was upgrading its travel warnings for Indonesia, as well as for Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos.

Mr Santosa said security in Indonesian tourist spots was now "10 times" stronger than before the attack.

The country's tourist industry could be "totally damaged, totally damaged, if - only if - we cannot identify the actor behind this," he said.

Empty hotels

He said he believed the Indonesian authorities would be able to identify the attackers "soon" with international help and to bring about a return to normality.

Indonesia needs "the assistance and help of the tourism community" to pull through the current crisis of confidence, said Mr Santosa.

"Terrorism is an international problem and what happened in Bali can happen anywhere also in the world," he said.

Hotel booking levels in Bali are down to 15% next week, a spokeswoman for the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) told BBC News Online.

That compares with 70% a couple of days after the explosion, suggesting many holiday makers have cancelled their visit.

WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten has been visiting Bali to talk to Indonesian government ministers about the security situation.


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17 Oct 02 | Business
16 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
17 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
14 Oct 02 | Business
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