Tourists begin Bali exodus

More British tourists were today being flown home from Bali after the bomb attack at Kuta beach, with the Foreign Office advising against all non-essential travel to Indonesia.

More British tourists were today being flown home from Bali after the bomb attack at Kuta beach, with the Foreign Office advising against all non-essential travel to Indonesia.

The UK's biggest tour operator, Thomson Holidays, was arranging flights back for about 100 clients. Other tour operators, including long-haul specialists Kuoni, were also flying UK holidaymakers home.

Thomson said: "As the Foreign Office has advised against travel to Bali, we are bringing all our clients back. We have cancelled all trips to Bali for seven days and will go along with any future Foreign Office advice.

"People whose trips have been called off will either get full refunds or be offered alternative tours. We shall review the situation on a daily basis."

Thomson said that most of its holidaymakers in Bali were staying in hotels well away from the blast area.

Kuoni had around 400 holidaymakers in Bali. The company was also offering either a refund or an alternative trip to those due to travel to the island in the next few days.

The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) said many of the holidaymakers already in Bali who were travelling on round-the-world tickets would continue with their trips to other locations, possibly earlier than expected.

Abta's head of corporate affairs, Keith Betton, said he was sure Bali would bounce back as a popular tourist destination.

He added: "It could be a couple of years before the island recovers. But it will recover. I don't think people are going to be put off visiting Muslim countries. The PKK terrorist group in Turkey announced some years ago that it would target tourists, but tourist numbers to Turkey have held up well.

"Similarly, the Basque terrorist group Eta has been active in Spain but his has not deterred British travellers."

Mr Betton will be joining more than 1,600 delegates at Abta's annual convention this week in Cairo, where security will be strict. He said: "We are not changing our plans because of what happened in Bali."

The Luxor massacre in Egypt in 1997, in which 67 tourists were shot dead by terrorists, was the worst holidaymakers' tragedy before the Bali attack. Tourist numbers in Egypt were severely depressed for around two years, but the destination is now booming again.

Staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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