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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Backpackers shun paradise island
Bali beach
Bali: Paradise postponed?

Bali's lucrative tourism industry is facing meltdown after the weekend's terrorist bombing, with many backpackers in nearby Sydney rescheduling their flights to avoid the tropical Indonesian island.


It's hit home really hard that people you know are being affected by this

Luke Manson from South London
Bali, a five-hour flight from Sydney, has always been a popular stop-off point for tourists heading to or leaving Australia.

The flow is likely to dry up in the short-term, but the indications are that the backpacker haven will re-emerge as a popular destination in time.

Most travellers are changing their plans to avoid Bali and are heading to Singapore or Thailand instead, said Richard Dudley, who runs Indy's Backpacker hostel at Bondi Beach.

Bali has lost its exotic appeal, Dudley told BBC News Online, but it may recover in the next year or so if nothing else happens.

Cautious mood

A casual survey of young European tourists in Sydney's Kings Cross district has found that none were prepared to visit Indonesia's famous beach and surf resorts in the near future.


I was very apprehensive about coming here - I did think about staying at home

Christopher Collins from Dublin

Some UK travellers here have found themselves on the emotional frontline of the tragedy.

Samantha Mansbridge, 23, from Romford in Essex, is still trying to find a friend listed as missing after the bomb blast.

"I know someone who's there and we're trying to get in touch with him now. He travelled out from Australia and we don't know what's happened to him," she said.

The attack has affected other British backpackers. Luke Manson, who's been away from his home in South London for six months, told the BBC: "I spoke to my brother earlier this week and learned that someone we were at school with was killed in Bali. It's hit home really hard that people you know are being affected by this."

Luke, 24, went on to say how he believed most young people understood the risks associated with travelling overseas.

"There seems to be a train of terrible events going on around the world. You accept there may be dangers wherever you go but you just get on and go," he said.

Postponed

Ollie, from Manchester, told News Online that backpackers were more prepared to accept the hazards of travel than older generations:

"We're more worldly, we see much more than our parents ever did. I don't think the attack will deter young travellers from going to places like Bali in the months ahead, but I wouldn't go anywhere near there now," he said.

Some 420,000 foreign backpackers flood into Australia every year. It's an annual trade worth AUD $2bn (700m).

Even among those who've arrived in Sydney from Europe in the past few days, there is a sense of nervousness about travelling to this part of the world.

'Apprehensive'

Christopher Collins, 36, from Ireland, said he had to overcome serious second thoughts before boarding his flight in Dublin.

"When I saw Bali on the map and realised how close it was to Australia, I was very apprehensive about coming here - I did think about staying at home," he said.

Analysts say Australia's tourism trade still hasn't recovered from the attacks on New York and Washington 13 months ago.

Alan Collingwood, the managing director of the Travellers Contact Point in Sydney, said the Bali massacre could frighten tourists away from Australia and its neighbours - but only in the short term.

"I don't think there will be any lasting damage to the holiday trade here but it's far too early to tell."

"People do have short memories. That may be a good thing but we must never forget what's happened in Bali," he added.


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