Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Indonesian tourism down 14 percent; Reuters prevaricates on cause

Given the rampant Islamist violence in Indonesia, It's no big shock that tourism there is down 14 percent from a year ago. I suppose it comes as even less of a surprise that al-Reuters would attempt to gloss over the real cause in their bland headline and opening paragraph:
Indonesia's Sept foreign tourist arrivals down 14 pct

JAKARTA, Nov 1 (Reuters) - The number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia in September fell nearly 14 percent from a year ago, the statistics bureau said on Wednesday, as natural disasters and the threat of bird flu kept visitors away.
Readers often scan headlines and read the first paragraph or two to get the gist of a story before moving on to the next, so this suits the al-Reuters agenda quite nicely. It's not until the third paragraph that the reader gets a hint of the real problem:
Tourism in the sprawling archipelago of some 17,000 islands, has been shaken by bomb attacks, tsunamis, earthquakes and cases of bird flu.
Then finally, in paragraphs five and six, al-Reuters gives up the charade:
The predominantly Hindu island in mostly Muslim Indonesia is still struggling to recover after suicide bombers attacked three restaurants in October last year, killing 20 people.

These attacks occurred three years after Islamic militants bombed two Bali nightclubs, killing 202 people, mostly foreign holidaymakers.
The really big news here is that tourism is only down 14 percent.

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