Foreign tourists still heading to Yogyakarta despite Jakarta attacks

YOGYAKARTA (JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - There has been no tour cancellations to Yogyakarta following Thursday's terror attack in Central Jakarta, the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) said.

"It's true there were foreign casualties in the terror attack, but we assured them (tourists) that Yogyakarta was safe and foreigners would still be able to find comfort here. (So far) there have been no cancellations," Yogyakarta PHRI secretary Dedy Pranowo Eryono told on Friday (Jan 15).

According to Mr Dedy, the impact of the attack was not significant because Jakarta - located some 400km away from Yogyakarta -  was not the main entry gate for foreign tourists, who usually visited Bali prior to exploring other destinations throughout the archipelago.

"It's a different situation compared to the 2012 Bali bombing. Following that incident, many cancellations were made and the number of foreign tourists significantly dropped," said Mr Dedy, adding that visitors from Europe, Japan and Australia would continued to arrive in Indonesia throughout January,which is usually a less hectic period for tourism compared with October and November.

Separately, Garuda Java Tour and Travel owner Edi Prabowo said his company expected to serve some 300 Japanese tourists visiting Yogyakarta, Java's cultural heartland, in January.

"Some visitors were worried at first and asked (us) about the situation after the attack, but after being informed, they feel safe to travel to Yogyakarta," said Mr Edi.

Yogyakarta Tourism Agency head Aris Riyatna confirmed that no cancellations had been made by travel agents catering to foreigners as of Friday afternoon.

"We have coordinated with travel agents and others to deliver correct information and intensively communicate with foreign travel agents," said Mr Aris.

He added that tourists from the Netherlands, Japan and Malaysia account for the majority of visitors to the city. Total arrivals reached 281,000 last year, an increase of 17 per cent from the year before.

"For domestic tourists, the number reached 3.4 million, a 21 per cent increase from 2014," Mr Aris said.