Officials from Bali Airport have revealed travel data for the first month of the year, and the numbers look good for Bali’s tourism economy. 2023 will be the first full calendar year for tourism since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns and travel restrictions. Tourism businesses and the government are all working towards ambitious targets for the year ahead.
The General Manager of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, Handy Heryudhitiawan, told reporters that the number of travelers passing through the airport in January was a cause for celebration. Though it’s not difficult to beat the number of passengers served in January 2022, since international borders didn’t reopen completely until February 2022, arrivals this January were up 163%.
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Heryudhitiawan shared, “the increase in the number of passengers was influenced by the opening of [more] international flights since March 2022. In January 2023, I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport served 810.930 international passengers.” He shared that of those passengers, 383,288 were arrivals, and 427,624 were departures. Naturally, departures in January outweigh arrivals as holidaymakers visiting the island for Christmas and New Year head home and the low season begins. Nevertheless, over 350,000 arrivals are a really positive sign for Bali’s tourism economy.
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Heryudhitiawan gave further context to the initial figures. He explained that the majority of arrivals are landing in Bali from Singapore. The dominant Singapore-Bali route served 168,744 passengers since Singapore is a popular transit point for travelers all across the world. This was followed by just under 100,000 passengers arriving from Kuala Lumpur and a further 75,258 landing in Denpasar from Melbourne.
It remains the case that Australian travelers are the most frequent visitors to Bali. In total, 99,075 passengers arrived in Bali in January 2023 from seven cities served by direct flights from Australia. Travelers from Russia came in second place with 22,703 arrivals, closely followed by travelers from India, 22,116.
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As is almost always the case, domestic arrivals largely outweigh international arrivals at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International. Heryudhitiawan told reporters, “as for domestic routes, flights from Soekarno Hatta International Airport became the largest contributor to passenger traffic with 328,939 passengers. Followed by Surabaya with 85,433 passengers and Ujung Pandang with 42,717 passengers.”
He added, “We hope that the upward trend in the number of domestic and international air travelers on the island of Bali will continue to be well maintained so that the reactivation of international flights to new routes is expected to be realized this year.”
The airport’s General Manager shared his optimism that this year will be even better than target-smashing 2022. He concluded, “In 2023, we are optimistic that we will exceed the achievements in 2022. With the addition of new international routes, as well as the inaugural landing of the Airbus A380…we project that it can be a driver for the growth of air traffic at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport.”
Although Bali is heading into the low seasons, the number of flights operating out of Denpasar is on the rise. Officials from Bali’s Tourism Office have confirmed that thirteen airlines have applied to operate new routes into Denpasar. It has not yet been made public which airlines have submitted flight requests, but officials have been able to share that the carriers are based in China, India, Japan, Russia, and the US.
Indonesia’s national airline, Garuda Indonesia, announced increased flight schedules starting in April. The long-awaited increased flight schedule was welcome news to many travelers based in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Sydney to Bali Garuda flight will increase to operate three times weekly starting on 5th April and up to four times a week starting from 7th July ahead of the school holidays. The return flight has also been increased to operate four times weekly too. For the Melbourne-Bali route, the schedule will increase to operate twice a week from 7th April.
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