The Volcano Heard Around The World
News over the eruption of Mount Agung on the resort island of Bali has been making global news headlines today.
Topping the list is CNN’s headline about 24,000 people being evacuated. What was sadly missed is that these are villagers close to the volcano. Mount Agung is 60-70 kilometers from the main tourist areas, but for those overseas all they see is Bali in distress.
I recall a CNN headline under breaking news during the Asian tsunami, that Phuket’s Laguna resort had been destroyed. Of course that wasn’t the case and the resort in question was in Khao Lak, quite some distance from Phuket.
In no way am I naysayer of news, Donald Trump and his fake news brigade will sooner or later be relegated to the dustbin of history. Yet the power to influence by a single headline remains a profoundly strong weapon.
As late as last week I was in Bali and looking at the STR numbers there was double digit demand growth in the first nine months of the year. Will all this change during the Volcano-driven fourth quarter? Certainly, it will.
Since the Bali bombing and Thai political turmoil, Phuket and the Island of the Gods in Indonesia have often seen a yin and yang cycle of ups and downs. There were a number of times when tourism redirected, spurred by big events.
What has been learned is the industry remains resilient. There is little doubt Phuket will benefit from Bali’s malaise, just as Bali did during our own turbulent times. That’s the nature of the business.
Yet at the same time, we have to all wish Bali a swift recovery. The issue of volcanic ash to airlift is incredibly important, and this will dictate how and when the market moves.
For now, travelers are best to be informed and not just read the broad headlines, but go deeper and get news from local sources in Bali. As for the tourism market of Bali, it will be back sooner or later, there is no doubt about that.