Kuta, Bali (ANTARA News) - Tourist sites in Bali are safe amid the alert status of Mount Agung, the highest mountain in Bali.
The status of Mount Agung had been raised to level 3 alert, following an increase in volcanic activity.
Tourist sites in Bali, such as Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Beratan Bedugul Lake and Tampak Siring Castle, Bali Safari and Marine Park, Garuda Wisnu Kencana, Sanur Beach, Tanjung Benoa, Goa Gajah, Nusa Penida area and Kuta Beach, are all safe.
Tourists can still enjoy the beauty of the beach in Bali, the tourist attractions, the hospitality of its people, and its culture.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) confirmed that that there had been an increase in the volcanic activity of Mount Agung, Karangasem Regency, on Sept 22 from 12:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Based on data, a total of 58 shallow volcanic tremors, 318 deep volcanic tremors, and 44 local tectonic tremors have occurred during that period.
The Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) has recommended residents around Mount Agung as well as climbers and tourists to halt any activity near the mount's crater area.
They have been asked to stay away within a 6-kilometer radius from the top of the mount, which is at an elevation of 950 meters from sea level, and additional sectoral expansion to the north, southeast, and south-southwest for 7.5 kilometers.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism has initiated the Bali Open Piano Competition 2017 in Kuta.
The event was held at Padman Resort Legian, Bali, on Sept 23 and 24, 2017.
Head of Promotion of Cultural Tourism at the Ministry of Tourism Ni Putu Gayatri remarked that the event had run smoothly and safely.
The Bali Open Piano Competition 2017 can become one of the evidences to prove that Bali was safe, Gayatri stated during the closing ceremony of the competition.
A number of foreign pianists have expressed enthusiasm to have participated in the event.
"They feel comfortable in Bali. They are not worried about the volcanic activity of Mount Agung," Gayatri affirmed.
Popular tourist sites are far from Mount Agung. As a result, tourism activities remain safe.
In addition, Ngurah Rai International Airport is also far from the mount. Flights, both domestic and international, are still running smoothly.
"Therefore, there is no reason to worry about the safety of traveling in Bali," she emphasized.
Gayatri also regretted the spreading of hoax news and exaggerated reporting that caused panic among the people.
A total of 150 pianists, from within the country and abroad, took part in the event.
Pianists from several countries, such as Australia, France, America, Japan, Korea, and Singapore, participated in the competition.
Each participant will be escorted by his family. One pianist can bring at least five members of his family.
"They will book hotel rooms and visit tourism spots in Bali. They will go shopping, enjoy culinary, and cultural performances. They are middle and upper class tourists with big expenses," Gayatri pointed out.
Therefore, the competition will serve as a boost for the tourism industry in Bali.
In 2016, the tourist destination of Bali Island received 4.92 million foreign tourists, an increase of 23.14 percent over the previous year, which was recorded at 4.001 million people.
Based on data from Bali Central Statistics Agency (BPS), as many as 4.85 million people take flights directly from their country through Ngurah Rai Airport, and the remaining 75,303 people travel through the sea port.
The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Bali from Jan to Aug 2017 had reached 3.99 million, an increase of 25 percent as compared to that recorded during the same period last year.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Bali Open Piano Competition 2017, Eleonora Aprilita, congratulated the winners of the competition.
"Please, be a pianist who is reliable. The competition is very important to develop the skills of young pianists. The young pianists can show their talents in playing classical music," she added.
Aprilita noted that the event has attracted a lot of participants, especially foreign tourists with high spending.
Participants from a total of 12 categories have competed in the event.
The category of choice songs is divided into six categories, namely A, which includes participants who are maximum 7 years old; B, which includes participants who are between the age of 8 and 9; C, which includes participants who are between the age of 10 and 11; D, which includes participants who are between the age of 12 and 14; E, which includes participants who are between the age of 15 and 17; and F, which includes participants who are minimum 18 years of age.
Then, there are six free categories, free of A-F, who will compete to play the piano with Baroque theme, which is the composers work of 1600-1750; classical era, which is the composers work of 1750-1820; romantic era, which is composers work in the early 1800s-1900s; and modern times, the work of composers in the 20th and 21st century.
The Bali Open Piano Competition 2017 takes place in two rounds. In the preliminary round, participants must play one song. Participants selected in the next round must play one song. Songs played in the final round should not be the same as those played in the preliminary round.
"We have announced the winners under each category. The winners will receive trophies, winning certificates, and prizes from the sponsors. All participants will get a certificate," she stated.
Meanwhile, Yuhana Okumura (12), a pianist from Japan, said that she was not worried about the volcanic activity of Mount Agung.
"The committee has explained clearly to my parents about the condition of Gunung Agung. There is nothing to worry about," Okumura stated.
With regard to the competition, Okumura said that the event could increase her skills in playing classical piano songs.
"I have trained for four months on the songs played in prestigious piano event. Hopefully, I can win this competition," she asserted.
Mika Okumura, Yuhanas mother, expressed happiness to see her daughter competing in the contest.
"After joining the competition, we will also take a trip to the tourist attractions in Bali," she exclaimed.
Jerome Cordir, a French businessman, was very excited to see the Bali Open Piano Competition 2017.
"I have come here with my wife and son. The competition provides us knowledge on classical songs. I really enjoy the songs," Cordir stated.
Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Anak Agung Gede Yuniartha Putra, earlier said that the Bali Tourism Board had sent an appeal to tourism-related parties all over the world to visit Bali without any hesitation.
He urged the media to not exaggerate reports on Mount Agung showing signs of volcanic activity.
He regretted a report by an Australian television channel claiming that Mount Agung spewed smoke into the air, when in reality, it did not happen.
"I think Australian people are smart and know the condition in Bali. Hence, we invite them to visit Bali," he concluded.
Source: ANTARA News