AFTA update 29 Nov 17

AFTA update 29 Nov 17

FROM AFTA’s chief executive, Jayson Westbury

As I write this column today, Mt Agung, the very active volcano in Bali, is in the middle of causing all sorts of havoc for the travel and tourism industry for these coming Christmas holidays. Only the other day, while attending a Consular Services briefing with DFAT, there was a great deal of discussion about the what-if scenarios, contingency plans and how/what would happen with so many Australian tourists in Bali, should Mt Agung seriously erupt. The good thing is there are plans in place with airlines and local authorities doing the best they can to prepare for the worst.

The logistics of moving so many people is of key concern and clearly with Bali being such a popular destination, plans are needed. As an industry, we have been down this road before and know only too well just how much disruption ash clouds and active volcanoes can cause, so I think the message this time is to brace yourself as I suspect more trouble is brewing.

The challenge with events of this nature, that is natural “disasters”, is that one never actually knows for sure what is going to happen. From reports available, the volcano could just explode or it may just stop or somewhere in between. The real worry is how to best inform passengers who are booked to travel in the next week or two and of course all at Christmas time, about what to do. There is no simple response to this unfortunately and I strongly suggest that all involved keep a close eye on the various websites including those of the airlines and the Australian Government’s

Currently, DFAT says ” Since 21 Nov 2017, Mt Agung, an active volcano in Karangasem Regency in Bali, has shown increased volcanic activity, causing disruptions to flights and airport operations. The alert level of Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority can change with little warning. Local authorities have maintained an exclusion zone around the crater, which can also change at short notice. Outdoor activities remain suspended in proximity to the crater. Contact airlines or tour operators directly for up-to-date information on flight options.”

I am sure that as information comes to hand further updates will be released and should the worst occur, which looks likely, people are going to have to think about an alternative destination for their holiday. Having said that, this is really a difficult one to get a handle on and I wish everyone all the best for the weeks ahead as this situation is monitored and watched.

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Source: traveldaily