INDONESIA. The recent devastating earthquakes in Indonesia have caused a -26% drop in bookings to the nation, according to ForwardKeys research.

That figure relates to bookings made since the second major earthquake this year, on 5 August.

On 29 July, an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale rocked the Indonesian island of Lombok, killing 20 people and injuring over 400. Nine days later, a second earthquake measuring 6.9 struck Lombok again, killing 555 people and injuring over 1,400. More than 156,000 people have been displaced.

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Prior to the earthquakes, Indonesia was experiencing a good year for tourism, according to ForwardKeys. Bookings from 1 January were up +10% on the equivalent period in 2017. That growth “all but ceased” after the first earthquake, the analyst said, and bookings then fell -26% following the second earthquake.

“The tourist trade has been particularly badly affected because bookings to the country’s top tourist destination, Bali, which is adjacent to Lombok, have fallen much further than bookings to Indonesia as a whole,” ForwardKeys said.

From 1 January until the first earthquake, bookings for Bali were up +15.2%. Since the second earthquake, they have fallen -42.9%. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, travel and tourism accounts for 10% of total employment in Indonesia but in the tourism hotspots, such as Bali and Lombok, it is considerably higher. Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta – a regional commercial centre – has fared much better, ForwardKeys noted. Bookings are down -2.2%.

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Indonesia’s most important source market is China, accounting for 14% of all visitors. Prior to the second earthquake, bookings were up +3% on the previous year but afterwards plummeted -59%, the analyst said.

Bookings from Australia, Indonesia’s second most important market, were up +28% before the second earthquake but have since fallen -19%. Similar setbacks have been seen in bookings from Hong Kong and Singapore. Bookings from India are still +16% up on 2017, although they were ahead +38% prior to the second earthquake.

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“In the face of such an overwhelming natural disaster, it is not surprising that there has been a collapse in travel bookings,” commented ForwardKeys CEO Olivier Jager. “One can only feel enormous sympathy for Indonesia and for the people of Lombok.”