Tue, 14 Nov 2000

Tourists canceling trips to Yogyakarta

YOGYAKARTA (JP): Several travel agencies in Europe and the United States have canceled their clients' planned trips to Yogyakarta following an anti-American sweep in the neighboring town of Surakarta recently, a local tourist organization said on Monday.

Chief of the Yogyakarta branch of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) Stef. B. Indarto said at least three groups of tourists from the United States and several European countries canceled their planned trips to Yogyakarta following the incident.

The groups, which consisted of 800 American and European tourists, would have arrived in the town this week, he added.

In addition to the anti-American sweep, the American travelers also canceled their trip due to a travel advisory issued by the U.S. government, he added.

"This is bad luck for us in Yogyakarta. The anti-American campaign has destroyed what we have done to build our image," Indarto told The Jakarta Post.

He said the number of American travelers visiting Yogyakarta was not as high compared to those from Japan, but the cancellations had affected other western tourists, such as those from Europe.

Although no European governments have issued a travel warning, the cancellations made by American tourists have also affected tourists from that region, he said.

Dozens of men clad in green military-style uniforms stormed into a number of international hotels in Surakarta, Central Java, late last month demanding that American guests leave the country.

The incident followed the growing criticism of the U.S. government's double standard policy in dealing with the Palestine and Israel conflicts. The U.S. government has also been charged with "interfering" in Indonesian domestic affairs.

The public relations manager of the five-star Hyatt Regency hotel, Atik Wildan, confirmed the trip cancellations to Yogyakarta.

"We should have been busy now serving those American tourists. But as you can see, we are idle," she told the Post.

The front office manager of Yogyakarta Santika Hotel, Yuli Priyono, said a group of 36 American tourists, two groups of 56 Israeli tourists and a group of 15 French tourists had also canceled their trip to Yogyakarta.

There are about 400 hotels with 9,500 rooms in Yogyakarta, 38 of which are star-rated, including two five-star hotels. (44)