BALI, Indonesia – Following terrorist attacks in Solo (Surakarta), Central Java, early last week, Bali is on high alert to assure the world that the island is safe.
IGN Rai Suryawijaya, chairman of the Badung chapter of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI), told Bali Daily on Sunday that all tourism stakeholders on the island were always ready to anticipate any threat to security, including terrorism.
“We continue to apply high standard security operations at any time. Bali is an international tourist destination. We cannot take any risk when it comes to security,” Suryawijaya said.
Even during “normal” periods, hotels and restaurants are still required to apply high levels of security.
“The association has closely coordinated with the government, the police and its members to take the necessary measures to prevent any possible terrorist threats,” he added.
Terrorism is well funded, with the resources to use luxury accommodation to operate from. The terrorist bombing at the JW Marriot in Jakarta was evidence as to how terrorists could use star-rated hotels.
Bali saw deadly terrorist blasts on two occasions, once in October 2002 and again in October 2005, claiming hundreds of lives.
Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, head of the Bali tourism office, has instructed the managers of all types of accommodation, including star-rated and non-starred hotels, villas, apartments, as well as homestays, to follow strict security standards.
“The safety of our guests must be their foremost priority,” Subhiksu said.
Subhiksu said Bali had not yet received any news regarding travel advisories from neighboring countries such as Australia.
Previously, Air Marshal Chairul Akbar, secretary general of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), told reporters in a recent meeting here in Kuta that the Indonesian government had been trying hard to eliminate radicalism and terrorism on its soil by enforcing high security alerts in a number of areas in the country, including the island of Bali.
Akbar said that terrorism would always be the country’s top security threat and that it was difficult to detect and to predict its presence.
“Here in Bali, all security forces must remain highly vigilant, especially during holiday and religious seasons,” he added.
Akbar admitted that Bali was famous for the religious harmony and tolerance among its diverse and multicultural residents.
Since its establishment in 2010, BNPT has arrested 780 persons suspected of being members of various terrorist and extremist organizations.