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Bali gets High Marks in Australian Safety Audit, and from Japanese Government

Friday December 22, 2006

One of 's leading private security companies, SNP Security, recently completed an intensive four-day safety audit of Bali and its tourism industry that tracked significant improvements in the Island 's approach to safety and security, reports

The Managing Director of SNP Security, Tom Roche, said Bali today is in a visibly and vastly more improved security situation than ever before.

SNP Security was commissioned to conduct the audit by the Sydney-based Public Affairs company S2i Communications who are seeking to quantify claims of security improvements in Bali .

S2i CEO, Wayne Tregaskis, insisted that any revised assessments of security in Bali must be based on tangible facts. "Any claims of Bali being a safe destination for travelers to visit, needs to be treated seriously and the security audit was one such way of doing that," said Tregaskis.

"What the SNP Security audit has provided is evidence that it is an appropriate time for Bali to resume its place on the list of desirable holiday destinations for Australians," he added. Continuing, he said, "it has also provided an opportunity for those promoting the island to do so with a higher degree of confidence in relation to safety and security matters."

"Certainly travelers everywhere need to maintain a higher level of security consciousness than they did prior to 9/11, but Bali can no longer be singled out as being any less secure than any of the other destinations of the world such as London, New York or Madrid ."
SNP Security

SNP Security holds the security contract for Sydney Airport , and has done so for the past 38 years. It also services such iconic buildings as the Sydney Opera House as well as a number of key installations around Sydney and beyond.

SNP's Managing Director Roche said that security efforts in Bali have been shared by private tourism operators on the island such as hotels, resorts and restaurants, and the Government itself at various levels. " Bali has recognized that it simply can't flourish without a viable tourism industry – it's the island's number one revenue generator – and this realization is reflected in the upgraded security status across the island," said Roche.

The four-day audit of major tourism facilities included popular visitor precincts such as Kuta, Legian and Seminyak as well as the high-end luxury hotels and restaurants in such areas as Nusa Dua and Jimbaran.

While a highly experienced counter-terrorism operative at SNP met with senior Government officials including the island's new Chief of Police, Inspector General Paulus Purwoko, and members of the government intelligence unit, most of the specialist's visits were unannounced and covert, day and night, ensuring 'real time' assessment of the security situation.

“Things have improved in Bali and the local population, along with its visitors, mutually share a 'sentiment of security' which works at many levels around the island," explained Roche. "In essence, there are two major policing organizations in place – the very vigilant community security (pecalang) and the official government organizations such as the police, military and counter-terrorism units. These resources, combined with upgraded, international standard training for the island's many private security companies, have ensured that the overall situation has taken a positive leap forward."

"Travelers, particularly Australian travelers, are a resilient lot which is why numbers are slowly returning to the island, along with increasing numbers from other parts of the world too, particularly Europe which is burgeoning in terms of visitors," Roche postulated.

 Separately, replying to a reader’s question to Indonesia Digest on warnings found at US airports of inadequate safety precautions at Bali ’s airport, Chief Editor, Jack Daniels has this to say:

 a.                   The warning posted at airports is the result of a Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) audit of the Bali Airport carried out in late 2005 that identified a number of security shortcomings in the operation of the airport.

b.                   As the result of that audit, the past year has seen a number of improvements that have been introduced at the airport including:

-          A new access road has been built and opened that removes the traffic from its former close proximity to parked aircraft.

-          The number of security staff has been almost doubled at the airport and extensive training has been undertaken

-          Additional security hardware ranging from CCTV, X-ray and live real-time links to an international narcotics information system have been installed.

-          Military and police personnel have been assigned to the airport to supplement security.

-          Live simulation drills have been run at the airport enacting a number of scenarios ranging from crashes to terrorist attacks,

-          A secure central security command has been established at the airport for the control and coordination of multi-agency responses to crisis situations.

c.                   A recent Japanese government review of the Bali Airport gave the facility high marks for security.

d.                   While Garuda has curtailed flights to Brisbane and , this is a factor of low loads and a greater need for their aircraft on Haj pilgrimage runs. In fact, Garuda recently retracted announcements indication reduced flights between and Bali , indicating that flights would be increased over the coming months.

e.                   While reduced Flights between and Bali are more a function of reduced arrivals (down by more than 50%) and lingering problems in public perceptions occasioned by high profile drug convictions of young Australian tourists.