DR NEIL Robinson, tourism expert from the University of Salford Business School, comments on the impact of the Bali volcano, which has left tourists stranded as the main airport is closed.
Dr Robinson said: “Bali is a very popular holiday destination for British tourists, its idyllic sands, hospitable people and great gastronomic delights have ensured that visitor arrivals from mainland Europe have stayed buoyant over recent years. Enter the ash cloud phenomenon, this is not the first time that nature has attempted to interrupt the would-be traveller from enjoying the spoils of tourism, remember the 2010 Icelandic ash cloud that closed much of the UK and European airspace.
“While many of the negative environment impacts are themselves man made, on this occasion we are at the mercy of the natural environment and we will have to wait out it’s wrath. While many tourists affected in the vicinity have been told to contact their travel provider or sit pretty for an update, it would appear that little can be done at this stage.
“Yes alternatives exist such as using ships to transport tourists to neighbouring locations where aviation provision has not been adversely affected. On this occasion, I suspect there won’t be any mass scale evacuation like we saw in 2010, with the British Government telling tourists to make it the nearest port, where a specially laid on British Frigate would take them home.
“From a legal perspective, good practice dictates that travel providers are legally required to ensure safe passage and assistance for travellers, that said, check the small print on your insurance, issues associated with riot, insurrection and acts of nature might not be covered.
“Looking to the future we might need to become more accustomed to Mother Nature interrupting our travel plans, the tourism economy is key to the success of Bali, one will have to see whether or not it has long term impacts on the region (I suspect not), but as our planet becomes a little older and like all things old, we will have to be patient with it, care for it more and be prepared when it causes us unforeseen problems.”