Travel agencies and tourists keeping tabs on Bali volcano

Travel agencies and tourists keeping tabs on Bali volcano

SINGAPORE — Travel agencies here are monitoring the situation in Bali closely after alert levels were raised about the possibility of Mount Agung erupting. However, they have told TODAY that no tours to the Indonesian island have been cancelled so far, nor have packages been tweaked.

Dynasty Travel public relations and communications director Alicia Seah said that while some travellers due to depart in the coming weeks have called to raise concerns, most are adopting “a wait-and-see attitude”.

Ms Seah also said tour packages to Bali do not include the area around the volcano, which is about two hours away from the main tourist strips of Kuta and Nusa Dua.

She added that Dynasty Travel currently has 12 customers in Bali, all of whom are safe. Others departing in the coming week “will proceed with their travel plans as long as the flights are not disrupted or cancelled”.

Travellers planning holidays to Bali also told TODAY that they are monitoring the situation.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Singaporeans in Bali should keep a close eye on developments, and avoid Mount Agung and its vicinity.

“They’re advised to take all necessary precautions for their personal safety, monitor the local news closely and heed the instructions of the local authorities, such as to be ready to evacuate at short notice,” it said in a travel advisory. “They should also purchase comprehensive travel and medical insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage.”

Chan Brothers Travel marketing communications executive Justine Koh said the agency has contacted travellers scheduled to leave for Bali this week to “inform them of the situation and advisory, and consult their preference for postponement or change of destination”.

She added that so far the company has not received any calls or cancellation requests from concerned customers. Its Bali tour itineraries have not been affected.

Stressing that safety is of the utmost importance, travel agencies recommend that customers buy travel insurance and register with the MFA.

Travellers told TODAY that they have been largely unfazed by the volcanic activity in Mount Agung, but are keeping an eye out for the latest updates.

Ms Ruth Lye, 34, who is due to travel to Bali with her husband on Friday, said she has registered with the MFA and bought insurance.

Public relations director Nirwan Noran, who is in Bali for a company retreat, said it is “unlikely” that he will be making changes to his itinerary, given that he is staying 60km from the volcano. The 32-year-old, who is set to return to Singapore tomorrow, said his concern is whether an eruption — should it happen before he leaves — might affect flights.

Singapore Airlines said it is monitoring the situation closely, and that all flights to and from Bali are operating as usual. A check yesterday evening by TODAY also showed that there had been no flights cancelled to or from Bali.

The 3,031m Mount Agung last erupted in 1963, killing about 1,100 people and hurling ash as high as 10km. With Indonesia recently issuing its highest alert for volcanic activity, officials said yesterday that more than 34,000 people have left the surrounding area.