Aussie travellers still ?love? Bali

TOURISM contributes a great deal to Indonesia's economy, but the country has taken some serious blows over the past few years.

First there was the Bali bombing in October, 2002, after which the occupancy rates at hotels on the island plummeted to as low as 10 per cent.

After a year long slump, tourism started to pick up again.

Then the Boxing Day tsunami delivered another blow to the country.

And now Schappelle Corby and the 'Bali nine' who face life in prison or the death penalty for drug smuggling are adding to the pressure.

Australians have always accounted for a large percentage of the tourists who visit Bali.

And, according to Flight Centre, it will take more to turn us off one of our favourite holiday destinations.

"Travellers are pretty resilient," a spokesperson for Flight Centre said.

"Australians love their holidays and Bali is such a popular destination because it's so close and so easy to get to."

Roger Atwal from Kelly Travel Company said that while people are talking about the risks since the Schappelle Corby case, it hasn't affected ticket sales.

"It's a talking point, but people are still travelling. But it will take a while to get back to the levels of before the Bali bombings,"he said.

Figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) show a drop from last year.

Currently, travel and tourism in Indonesisa accounts for 7.4 per cent of total employment, or about 7 million jobs, and contributes 8.9 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product.

WTTC figures also show that in 2004 travel and tourism was worth 8.5 per cent of total employment, and 10.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

But WTTC estimates that travel and tourism in Indonesia will grow by 8.6 per cent in 2005.

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