Officials from Bali Airport have confirmed that they have received over 400 requests for additional flights over the Christmas and New Year holidays. The end-of-year holidays, known locally as Nataru, are expected tome the busiest in Bali since 2019. Airport officials shared predictions last week that the island will welcome over 1.4 million visitors in the next three weeks.
Speaking to the press, the General Manager of Angkasa Pura I I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, Handy Heryudhitiawan shared that flight demand has drastically increased in the last few weeks. He confirmed that the airport has received nearly 500 requests from airlines to run additional flights in December. The extra flight requests were predominantly for domestic routes, 487, in fact. To top it off, there have been 11 applications for additional international routes.
He explained that the peak of domestic arrivals is between December 20th and Christmas Day. Airport booking data shows that there is currently an 8% increase in domestic arrivals from Christmas Day and December 29th.
On December 30th there will be a further 10% increase in domestic arrivals. In terms of intentional arrivals, there will be an increase of 9.6% on the days before Christmas Day, and a further 11% increase between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. When asked how the airport is preparing for the rush of arrivals, Heryudhitiawan confirmed everything is under control.
He explained, “The facilities and infrastructure are very ready for the implementation of the Integrated Post period. Such as the domestic terminal, international terminal, General Aviation Terminal, security facilities, the readiness of personnel on duty, and tenant facilities as well as all other airport stakeholders”.
Heryudhitiawan did not confirm how many of the nearly 500 applications have been approved, but with demand rocketing and Bali keen to attract as many visits as possible, the airport will be actively working to create a schedule where as many flights can land as possible.
The news that an additional 1.4-1.5 million visitors will travel to Bali for the festive season is great news for the tourism sector on the island. The numbers smash the tourism targets set by Tourism Minster Sandiaga Uno in June this year. He announced that he set targets of welcoming 1.5 million international arrivals by the end of the year, in addition to 7 million domestic tourists.
On December 10th Heryudhitiawan addressed the media to share up-to-date figures for tourism arrivals in Bali. He shared that I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport had welcomed over 10 million passengers by the end of November. “From January to November, we have served 3,790,404 international travelers and 7,087,273 domestic travelers. Overall, there were 10,877,677 passengers”.
He acknowledged that this figure was undoubtedly bolstered by the influx of visitors for the G20 Summit held in Nusa Dua in November. Nevertheless, while Bali may not have bounced back to the pre-pandemic international arrivals of over 6 million people, the island is certainly on its way.
Now airport officials like Heryudhitiawan are hopeful that the total by the end of the year will reach 12 million visitors to Bali. Hoteliers, tourism villages, and tour agents are all pinning their hopes on a wave of last-minute bookings. Tourism teams in East Bali have told the media about their delight that bookings have increased to near pre-pandemic levels for the Christmas holidays this year.
The Chairman of the Indonesian Restaurant and Hotel Association for Karangasem, I Wayan Kariasa, shared that hotel occupancy for the festive period sits at 35% currently and looks to rise. “With the current achievements, we are optimistic that we can continue to improve. We predict it will be above 40 percent”.
News that demand for flights continues to increase is good news for political figures in Bali who spoke out to quash claims that bookings had declined after news broke of controversial updates to the Indonesian Criminal Code.
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