Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Indonesia: Bali a High-Risk Destination for Aussies, One Fatality Every Eight Days

According to Australia-based The Daily Telegraph, a top destination for Aussies, albeit high-risk,  as Bali is also one of the deadliest, with 48 Aussies losing their lives in Bali in the last year, or one fatality every eight days.
Information provided by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (http://www.dfat.gov.au) also revealed that 118 Australians fell ill or were admitted to hospital in Bali, and 20 were arrested during the year. 

The fatalities include those of Aussies Noelene Bischoff, 54, and her daughter, Yvana, 15, who died from a rare form of food poisoning in January:

The number of Australians losing their lives in Bali--from either misadventure, natural causes or foul play, has increased steadily since 2011-12, when 39 people died.
Yet, the Indonesian island’s dangerous reputation has proven no deterrent to Aussies  who have made Bali our top choice for an overseas holiday.
COMMENT: My suggestions to Aussies visiting Bali include the following in order to reduce the extraordinary high fatality rate of "one fatality every eight days":

1. Register your itinerary if possible with DFAT;

2. Subscribe to an Australian-based international medical treatment and medical evacuation underwriter which includes repatriation of the travelers remains if they die in Bali, as shipping remains back home without such coverage can be very costly; 

3. Ensure that there is one "dedicated driver" who doesn't drink in all groups. This really cuts down on DUI arrests;

4. Knowing how emphatic Indonesian authorities are when it comes to recreational drug use, collectively AGREE to ABSTAIN from drugs while in Bali;

5. Even though it is not in the Australian DNA to stay in luxury hotels, they are much, much safer for a short period of time, provide a two-key safe deposit box system in the lobby and reduce local predators from engaging in rape and sexual assault; 

6. Bali is well-known for alcohol and food poisoning. My suggestion is to use only reputable establishments and purchase alcohol in hotel concessions where although pricey, are reliable;

7. Avoid using ATMs and cash machines situated on the street-level. Alternatively, use ATMs only in financial institutions during DAYLIGHT hours; and

8. Acknowledge that predators looking for Aussies are abundant everywhere and that even Indonesia police will sell drugs; and

9. Travel in groups wherever possible, as there is always safety in numbers.

Statistics based on hotel bookings, show Bali came from fourth place to first place on the  http://www.hotels.com index last year to claim the top spot in the first six months of 2014.
The 2013 favorite, New York City in the US, was relegated to second place.
It is the first time since the index was compiled in 2007, that Bali has topped the list.
Singapore held its position as our third favorite international destination, followed by London which slipped to fourth from second, and Paris, up three places from eighth to fifth.
Australians’ love affair with Bali has not only weathered the 2002 terrorist bombings, but a reputation for crime, poor safety standards and a hard-line approach to drug possession.
DFAT’s official travel advisory warns travellers to exercise a high degree of caution, and to be aware of rough seas and strong currents, bag snatchings and the risk of road crashes when riding motorcycles.
Australian Federation of Travel Agents CEO Jayson Westbury said it was not surprising to see Bali in the No.1 spot. “It’s probably fair to say that Australians tend to stay for longer (in Bali), putting down roots for seven or even 14 nights,” said Jayson Westbury.
“It’s all well and good to develop the top end $1,000 a night accommodations, but there’s still a bit of a misfire as far as the supporting infrastructure is concerned,” he said.