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 Visiting Indonesia - Basis for Travel advisories by two governments

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Josi
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PostSubject: Visiting Indonesia - Basis for Travel advisories by two governments   Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:43 am

This is what I find in the website of our State Department (www.state.gov) about travel to Indonesia:

The State Department lifted its travel warning for Indonesia in May 2008 due to objective improvements in the security situation in the country.

However, this is what I find in the website of the Australian government (www.smartraveller.gov.au):

We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the very high threat of terrorist attack.

This is followed by some more detailed comments. They are mostly the type of precautions an experienced traveler will follow.

How could two governments have two different views? Unless I hear the accent, I cannot tell an Aussie from a (white) American, Brit or an European on the streets in Indonesia. I also believe the Indonesian government is deeply interested in improving their tourism traffic.

Josi
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outahere
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PostSubject: Re: Visiting Indonesia - Basis for Travel advisories by two governments   Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:07 am

Being our next-door neighbours, Australia works very closely with the Indonesian Government on security, and in fact funds some areas of Indonesian security and policing. Your question is raised regularly in the media and on forums such as this, but the government - which is not the government that put the warnings in place - insist they are still relevant. In the weeks leading up to the execution of the Bali bombers, Indonesian authorities caught a group of terrorists who had manufactured bombs and were planning to use them. The terrorists would have already used them but were arguing amongst themselves as to where they were going to use them, and were caught in the meantime. This group were divided on targeting westerners and targeting Indonesians, with the later aimed at destabilising the current government.

Indonesia is currently having elections, and while they have been peaceful to date, that is partly due to a pretty tight reign being held by the police and army over the general population.

Given the close working relationship the Australian Federal Police and ASIO has with Indonesia in this area, I give them the benefit of the doubt and trust they are know what they are talking about. While there have been improvements in security in Indonesia, the fact remains that there is an element of radicalism that poses a threat to westerners who visit the country. I know the US think they know it all, but it is not necessarily the case.

Australians taking their families to Indonesia on a holiday need to be aware that there is a risk involved. Removing the current level of warning may send the wrong message. Some argue that it is unfair on the Balinese and tourism, I argue that it doesn't really stop people (see latest tourist numbers, Australians flocking to Indonesia in bigger numbers than ever), but they are making an informed choice.

I personally would consider Lombok to be about the safest tourist destination in the region. Certainly safer than Fiji or Thailand. But because we have had two actual attacks on Australians in Bali, Indonesia has a higher level of warning than those two countries - well it did last time I looked. It may have changed for Fiji.

Anyway Josi, the point is, Australia's travel advisory does not mirror the USA's travel advisory in every country of the world. The governments of the respective countries have their own information and agendas, and factors influencing those decisions including geographical, political, and security intelligence. They make their decisions independently of each other as to what they advise their citizens. And that is how it should be.
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PostSubject: Thanks for the full background information   Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:29 pm

I now have a much better understanding of the advisory issued by the Australian government. It is nice to know also that the Australian tourism to Indonesia has not dropped.

I do know there is a strong linkage between the stability of a country and the FDI (foreign direct investment) there. I am aware the Indonesian government is keenly interested in this and also wants to channel this to the right sectors so that it will benefit the citizens (see excerpts below).

JAKARTA, June 16 (Reuters) (2008) - Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indonesia rose 164 percent in the January-May period from a year ago, helped by strong investment in telecoms and transport, the state investment agency said on Monday.

The agency, also known as BKPM, said FDI rose to $9.78 billion in the first five months from $3.70 billion in the same period a year ago.

The telecommunications and transport sectors accounted for investments worth $6.55 billion. Comparative investment figures for the sectors for last year were not available.

"They are really promising industries," Muhammad Lutfi, the agency's chief, told reporters on the sidelines of a parliamentary hearing.

"(But) in the next six to nine months investors may delay their investment, which were approved in 2007, as they have to recalculate the impact of the fuel price hike."


I am more interested in learning if there is going to be right FDI for the people in Lombok. This is an island with lot of potential but I do not see any long term investments in the works. I hope some day the island will become not only a good place to visit but also one with a healthy economy.

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