Fears for tourism after Java quake

Yogyakarta’s tourism infrastructure including hotels and sites have been significantly affected by the earthquake that hit the Indonesian island of Java on Saturday, May 27. and left over 5,000 peope dead. 

At least 50 percent of hotels in Yogyakarta, which is known for its cultural and historical significance were badly damaged.

After Bali the city is the second most visited area by overseas tourists.

The Indonesian hotel and restaurant association (PHRI) told the Antara news agency that the city has 110 hotels including 12 star-rated hotels and that only seven can continue to operate after the quake.

PHRI chair person Yanti Sukamdani Hardjoprakoso told the agency that many travel agents have cancelled hotel reservations for their holidays in June and July.

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These are the peak months and before the quake 70 percent of the rooms had been booked but many reservations have now been cancelled, Yanti explained.

Many travel agencies have also cancelled hotel reservation, although Yanti expects a return of tourists by August.

The temple complex at Prambanan, one of the areas main tourist attractions located 20 kilometers (10 miles) east of Yogyakarta has also been affected with toppled statues and blocks littering the ground.

“In the Prambanan complex, Brahma Temple sustained serious damage in the earthquake,” the Antara news agency quoted Soeroso, director of archaeological heritages at the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, as saying on Saturday.

Damage was also done to Plaosan Lor and Sejiwan temples, but not to serious extent. Sejiwan Temple was actually in the process of being repaired and the quake undid some of the complete repairs.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik toured Prambanan this Tuesday. They have vowed to restore the site.

Prambanan, like the nearby Borobudur temple compound, is one of the premier tourist attractions in Central Java, drawing some 1.5 million visitors a year, according to the provincial tourism office and reported by Agence France Presse. Borobudur was apparently undamaged.

Yogyakarta is the Javanese cultural center with its Sultanate Palace and is the largest tourism destination in Java, attracting visitors from around the world.

Though beaten down, Indonesia’s tourism industry has managed to survive some of the worst storms, the bird flu outbreak, plane crashes, the Asian tsunami, erupting volcanoes and more earthquakes.


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