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"Neblue rubber wristbandsw Balis" hit hard after disasters
2020-01-14 22:31:42 Read Count：27
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Indonesia"s plan to boost its tourism faces a set back in wake of disasters
TANJUNG LESUNG, Indonesia - Picture-postcard Tanjung Lesung was a cornerstone of Indonesia"s bid to supercharge its tourism industry, boasting palm-fringed beaches, a towering volcano in the middle of turquoise waters and a rain forest sanctuary for endangered Javan rhinos.
But the beachside town now lies in ruins, pummeled by a deadly tsunami that has raised fresh questions about disaster preparedness and the future of a multibilliondollar push to replicate Bali"s success across the Southeast Asian archipelago.
The shattered community was hosting a pop concert when the waves crashed ashore last month, at night and without warning.
Several members of the Indonesian band Seventeen and more than 100 others at the Tanjung Lesung Beach Hotel were killed－about a quarter of those who died in the volcano-triggered tsunami.
A clutch of other area hotels was also devastated, with beachside cottages flattened and debris－chairs, tables and the band"s audio equipment－scattered everywhere.
Tourism minister Arief Yahya, who ordered that the town be rebuilt in six months, brushed aside concerns sparked by the tsunami－which was triggered by a sudden eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano.
"Disasters can happen anywhere in Indonesia," he said during a recent visit there.
"We need to have (tsunami) early warning systems, especially in tourist destinations. We"re going to make that happen."
But some are less convinced, especially since disaster monitors became aware of the killer waves after they had already smashed into the coastline along western Java and southern Sumatra.
"It"s going to be even more difficult to promote (the area), especially now that buildings are destroyed and the volcano is more active," said Tedjo Iskandar, a Jakarta-based travel analyst.
About 42 percent of Indonesia"s 14 million foreign tourists headed to the popular resort island of Bali last year, giving a $17 billion boost to Southeast Asia"s biggest economy.
The government picked Tanjung Lesung and nine other locations as part of its"10 New Balis" strategy, a plan unveiled in 2016 with an eye to courting Chinese, Singaporean and other investors as its pushes to hit 20 million tourists annually.
The list includes ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples, tropical islands near Jakarta, the Mount Bromo volcano in eastern Java, and a national park that is home to Komodo dragons－the world"s biggest lizard.
But the killer tsunami has dealt a blow to plans to pump some $4 billion into Tanjung Lesung.
And it is not the only spot in the government"s tourism plan to suffer a disaster－natural or man-made－that could scare away tourists.
Lombok, next to Bali, was rocked by earthquakes in the summer that killed more than 500 and sparked a mass exodus of foreigners from the tropical paradise.
That was weeks after Lake Toba on Sumatra island－also on the "New Bali" list－was the scene of a ferry accident that left almost 200 people missing or dead.
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