Bali is breathing a sigh of relief this week as figures can confirm that there has been a 1000% increase in international visitors in the first quarter of 2022. The 1000% increase came from February to March 2022 when Bali officially reopened its borders.
There was another sharp rise in arrivals over the Eid Al-Fitr weekend, though this was mostly domestic tourists. Bali is bracing for another rapid influx of travelers over the European summer holidays and long winter break in Australia which fall in June and July.
The 1000% increase in visitor numbers from February to March 2022 can be attributed to the reopening of borders. Since then mandatory quarantine has been scrapped, and in the last week, the Indonesian government announced that the pre-arrival PCR test was no longer necessary for vaccinated international arrivals.
This announcement was celebrated by the Bali tourism sector who saw the PCR testing mandate as a huge barrier for potential travelers.
The 1000% increase in international travelers was made up of predominantly people traveling from Australia, the UK, Singapore, the USA, and France. These countries are also part of Indonesia’s visa on arrival program. In early May the visa on arrival program was expanded to offer people from 60 countries entrance to Indonesia. When borders opened in February the visa on arrival scheme was only available for travelers from 17 countries.
Bali is ensuring that the tourism sector springs back with a flourish. From the 23-28th May, the Indonesian government will be hosting the 7th Global Platform For Disaster Risk Reduction in partnership with the United Nations. Over 2000 troops have been deployed to Bali to ensure that the event runs smoothly as the island welcomes over 4000 international delegates.
In June, Bali will be hosting the 8th Bali and Beyond Travel Fair, a huge conference hosted by the island’s tourism sector. The event is an opportunity for travel and tour operators in Bali to show off the island, Bali culture and the island’s unique guest experiences.
These two conferences are perfect warm-up events for the G20 Summit which will be held in Bali in November. The 2-day international conference will see presidents and prime ministers from the world’s 20 biggest economies land in Bali to discuss the future of the union. This event will put Bali in front of the eyes of millions of people and the tourism sector is readily aware of the need to succeed.
Successful events like these also encourage governments around the world to put Indonesia on their Covid-19 ‘Safe to Visit’ lists that mean travellers do not need to take a PCR test to return home or to quarantine.
Big international events bring in huge groups of business travelers and in turn significant revenue. What Bali celebrates most is the return of the ‘average’ traveler whose holiday budgets accumulate to create the vast majority of Bali’s tourism revenue.
Hotel occupancy hit 60% over the Eid Al-Fitr weekend, the highest it had been in pandemic times. Though hotel bookings have dropped off slightly since then, internet searches for hotels in Bali have increased astronomically in the last few weeks.
The Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Menparekraf Sandiaga, released a statement confirming Bali Airport’s rapid increase in international arrivals. The department explained how they were proud to be collaborating with international airlines to coordinate the increase in flight schedules to Bali, and Indonesia more broadly.
Sandiaga went on to say how the Tourism and Creative Economies are working to increase awareness of Indonesian tourism around the world, by offering ‘holistic’ information about all that the archipelago has to offer.
Sandiaga believes that the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions will continue to have a positive impact on tourism in Bali. Indonesia is keen to continue to see the number of international arrivals increase, following Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand as the most popular countries to visit in South East Asia during the pandemic era.
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