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Indonesian Tourism on Downward Trend After Java Quake

try would only be for a short period.

The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia in the first four months of this year dropped 10.7 percent to 1.2 million when compared to the same period last year, according to the Central Statistics Agency.

Bali, the gem of Indonesia's tourism industry, was just beginning to rebound after the 2002 bombings when suicide bombers struck for a second time last year, causing tourist numbers to drop again.

The earthquake was the latest in a string of natural disasters to hit the archipelago in recent years, the worst being the December 2004 tsunami, which left about 168,000 people dead or missing in Aceh, on the northern end of Sumatra.

Sukamto, a businessman who owns a camping tour outfit in the Cangkringan district in Sleman, has already felt the effects of quake.

"Last month 15 tours were cancelled because of Merapi and 30 more have gone because of the quake. But what can we do against nature?"

While Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik estimated the city had experienced a 60 percent drop in tourists, he tried to assuage fears about the prospects of the tourism industry.

"I'm sure that within the next two weeks, Yogyakarta's tourism industry will bounce back," Wacik said.

(Source: IANS)
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