Sunday, July 19, 2009

Statement Following Jakarta Bombings

The Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Jero Wacik, SE, wishes to update the international community regarding the current tourism status in Indonesia following the recent tragic bombings of the Ritz Carlton and JW Marriot Hotel in Jakarta.

Mr. Wacik stresses that the overall security situation in Jakarta and throughout Indonesia is stable and safe. He notes that this is the high season in popular destinations in Indonesia such as Bali, Java, and Batam and that Indonesia is enjoying its best ever year in terms of tourism arrivals. This deplorable attack is an immediate tragedy in the loss of life and human suffering for those victims of the hotel bombings. It is sadly also very likely to have an impact on the image of Indonesia as a safe destination and consequently many Indonesians working in tourism destinations a thousand kilometers from Jakarta may lose their jobs if tourists become concerned.

The Minister wishes to reassure the international community in the most practical and straightforward terms:

1. In the past decade, Indonesia has gained a strong reputation among law enforcement and political leaders worldwide as a country that while it has suffered from terrorist attacks in the past has done more than most to effectively combat terrorism within their borders.

2. As BBC News (among others) has noted in their coverage of the recent bombings, this success has been achieved through a combination of good law enforcement, aggressive pursuit of suspects, open trials for suspects broadcast on TV, public discussions by Islamic leaders of issues of concern, and a reintegration program for terrorists and supporters who wish to return to a productive path and rejoin society.

3. Sadly, as this week’s bombings have shown, in a country of 230 million people there are still a few willing to carry out this senseless attack which will gain them nothing but will hurt the people of Indonesia.

4. We would urge countries considering a warning to their citizens about visiting Indonesia to examine the conditions on the ground carefully; to let their Embassies and the world media inform them of the real situation throughout the country; and not to let a few madmen severely damage the lives of the many thousands of Indonesians who work in the tourism sector and welcome visitors to a happy and safe tourism experience every year.

Please contact the above media crisis centre for further updates and information. We know if we all work together, we can rebuild Indonesia’s justified reputation as a welcoming and hospitable destination.

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