Written by Erin Willis
Despite the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website advising Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Indonesia,
the streets of Bali’s main tourist area are far from a reflection of this warning.
Since the 2002 Bali bombing attack in the Kuta nightclub district and the following 2005 attack on Jimbaran Beach and the Kuta Square shopping mall, the Australian government has urged Australians to remain vigilant against terrorist attacks and to reconsider travel to Bali.
For some time after the attacks, these warnings (and the attacks themselves) played a major role in the shrinking amount of tourists travelling to Bali, and contributed to a serious decline in the Balinese tourism industry.
Luckily this is no longer the case. On my recent visit to Bali exactly six years on from the 2005 attack, it was evident that these warnings no longer hold Australians and other westerners back from visiting this popular tourist destination.
In the main streets of Kuta you’re unable to walk down the street without the offer of cheap (and fake) Ray-Ban sunglasses and other items marked with popular western labels, or avoid the site of young and old Aussies alike, clad in the typical souvenir Bintang singlet.
Each night the clubs are pumping out top hits off the western charts, filled with Aussies and other tourists drinking seriously cheap cocktails and having a good time.
Other tourist attractions such as Waterbom Park, sailing tours out to Lembongan Island and various Elephant and Safari Parks still attract vast amounts of tourists, while providing income for many Balinese families.
While there are still visible remnants of the attacks, such as security checks at most resorts and popular tourist attractions, memorials and fireworks marking the evening memorial of the 2005 attacks, they no longer seem to bare a damaging burden on the Balinese tourism industry.