Aussie shop owner in Bali says ‘over the top’ reaction to volcano has killed off tourism

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A young Melbourne woman, who upended her life to open a shop in Bali, said the reaction to the Mount Agung volcano was “over the top” and has “destroyed tourism” on the island.

 

Monique Ancora moved to Seminyak to open the ‘The Happiness Journey Leather’ in Bali a year ago, but the 29-year-old said the hype over the simmering volcano has unnecessarily kept tourists away.

“The businesses over here are really suffering and we all have absolutely no idea what is going on,” Ms Ancora told Yahoo7 News.

“I understand that you can’t plan for a volcano but the reality is unless you’re in that 10 kilometre danger zone, Bali is still safe.”

Monique Ancora says an ‘over the top’ reaction to the erupting volcano has “completely killed tourism” near her Seminyak small business. Source: Supplied

View of Mount Agung eruption in the morning from Amed Beach. Source: Getty

A Bali Tourism Board spokeswoman confirmed that the 10km exclusion zone around Mount Agung was still in effect on Monday.

Ms Ancora said she had turned her focus to her online store in a bid to keep her business alive, with all foot traffic “completely dead”.

“The tremors started in September, from the moment that happened, it’s literally just been dead,” she added.

“They say a major eruption is imminent and then nothing happens.

Ms Ancora said “people need to know that they can still come”, insisting that everything is still open in areas like Seminyak.

“Literally yesterday from when I opened the store at 3pm until I closed at 9pm, I didn’t have a single person enter… it’s just not Bali.”

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Heather Handley, a volcanologist at Sydney’s Macquarie University insists the threatening volcano is “clearly still in an active phase.”

“At all volcanoes we can expect fluctuations in activity. This does not mean that the threat is over,” Ms Handley said

Meanwhile Qantas and Jetstar will resume flights to and from Bali on Monday, as the lingering ash cloud caused by the erupting Mount Agung begins to clear.

Virgin will fly out of the Indonesian holiday hot spot, but are still not flying into the island.

Thousands of holidaymakers were stranded in Bali as visibility deteriorated on Saturday, nearly a week since the volcano’s eruption.

Passengers ask staff about their flights at Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali. Source: Getty

Passengers gather at the Gusti Ngurah Rai International airport in Denpasar. Source: Getty

Jetstar cancelled all of its Sunday flights departing before 4pm, and Qantas cancelled it’s Sunday night flight from Denpasar to Sydney.

While five Jetstar flights were able to depart on Saturday morning, several evening flights were cancelled.

Virgin was forced to cancel its three scheduled recovery flights on Saturday after conditions “significantly deteriorated,” a spokeswoman said.

All of the airlines continue to monitor the situation and advise travellers flights may be cancelled if conditions worsen again.

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