Bali still popular holiday spot
By JANN BURMESTER
Despite the recent bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, the Indonesian island of Bali is still proving a popular tourist destination.
According to two Byron Bay travel agents, inquiries to this 'Island of the Gods' are still high with many local people already enjoying the island's many delights and many more due to fly out during the current school holidays.
Jessica Milford from Travelscene said at least 50 local people were booked to travel to Bali between now and November.
"Bali is still very popular with families, couples, backpackers and surfers and we are having trouble getting people a seat on a plane, despite the travel warnings," she said.
"It is such a beautiful place and you just can't beat it for value, but of course people should always practise commonsense.
"Our manager is actually going to Bali in November."
Ms Milford said one thing she had noticed was that people were opting to stay in smaller, Balinese-style hotels rather than the big hotels.
Manager of Byron Bay Flight Centre, Robert Pierce, said inquiries to Bali had been good all year and the agency had not received any cancellations following the bombing in Jakarta.
"Byron Bay people have a real connection with Bali and those who have been travelling to the island for many years will continue to do so," he said.
"They realise that the Balinese are doing it tough and they want to help by supporting them with their business."
With the second anniversary of the Bali bombings less than a week away, Byron Bay businessman Barry Wallace who lost his daughter Jodie in the Kuta bombings has not yet decided whether he will travel to Bali for the commemorations.
But, he has warned travellers to be cautious.
"I would say to Australians and other westerners to stay away from busy bars and nightclubs and be very aware of terrorism," Mr Wallace said.
"I can think of much safer destinations to travel to other than Bali.
"As a family we our grateful to the people of Byron Bay for being able to share our grief with them, but now we would like some time to be able to grieve privately and personally."