Tourism officials in Bali have slammed “sensationalised” Australian media reports that suggested visitors to the island could be at risk from the Zika virus.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Bali Hotels Association cited information from the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and Indonesian Ministry of Health confirming that Indonesia has not been affected by the mosquito-borne virus.
The BHA also criticised a recent Australian travel advisory warning its citizens about Zika.
“We can only deplore… that the Australian travel warning system relays information that is often linked to hearsay, is not location-specific and, most importantly, that each time new information is posted, it pops-up as a ‘change in travel warning’ and every time replicating fears that are not founded,” the BHA said.
The latest “situation report” from the WHO states that no Zika cases were recorded in Indonesia between 2013 and 2016. Asia Pacific countries with recorded cases include Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Australia is Bali’s largest visitor source market, accounting for almost a quarter of total arrivals to the island in 2015.