I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, is currently the second busiest airport in Indonesia. Coming second only to Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, Bali Airport is nearly running at its pre-pandemic capacity. The airport is currently operating 21 domestic flight routes in partnership with 11 airlines and 24 international flight routes to 14 countries, served by 27 airlines.
Now, tourism leaders in Bali, are calling on the travel industry to launch direct flights from Bali to Mumbai to help capitalize on the growing interest in Bali as a destination for Indian travelers.
The Regional Leadership Council (DPD) of the Association of Indonesia Tours and Travel Agencies (ASITA), is pushing to launch direct flights between Mumbai and Denpasar. The city of Mumbai, often also called by its old name Bombay, is one of India’s most metropolitan and wealthy cities.
Currently, there are no direct India to Bali flights, meaning travelers from the sub-continent must transit. This adds additional time and money to a trip tourism leaders in Bali suggest is off-putting to many potential travelers.
The Chairman of ASITA, I Putu Winastra, told reports “Yes, that’s why ASITA Bali pushed for the realization of a direct flight from India to Bali,” A direct flight would be quicker, more affordable and according to the association, there is sufficient demand to warrant launching a new flight route.
Winastra explained, “Our thinking is that the desire of the Indian people to travel is quite high. Even if there were direct flights to Bali, maybe the number of Indian tourists visiting Bali would be far greater than the current number”.
Currently, travelers from India must transit in Hanoi, Vietnam, Bangkok, Thailand, Kuala Lumpur in, Malaysia or Singapore. Destinations that each offer tourists wonderful opportunities for travel and leisure.
Cultural proximity is another key factor that tourism leaders have noted as a reason to actively promote Bali as a destination for Indian travellers. Both Bali and India are majority Hindu populations. While some cultural differences exist between Balinese Hinduism and Hinduism within India, the core beliefs and spiritual practices are very much aligned.
Between January and October 2022, Bali welcomed 119,978 tourists from India. This is more than the number of tourists from the UK, 95,899, and France, 80,188 during the same period. At the end of November, the General Manager of Bali Airport, Handy Heryudhitiawan, confirmed that Bali Airport was welcomed over 10 million passengers in the year to date.
He explained, “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…This amount includes the arrival and departure of state guests and the G20 Summit participants who attended on the island of Bali”.
From month to month, travelers from India have consistently been landing in the top five most frequent visits to Bali. With tourists from mainland China still living with strict Covid-19 restrictions, travelers from India have pushed into second place as the highest number of foreign visits to Bali when looking at the data spread across the year. As has almost always been the case, travelers from Australia are the most frequent international arrivals in Bali, with nearly half a million Aussies landing in Denpasar by the end of November.
Even the Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Tjokorda Bagus Pemayun, has called for a direct flight to be launched between India and Bali. He said “So far, Indian tourists are still transiting in Singapore and others” and emphasized that he hopes that a route will be created soon.
This news comes as Bali continues to look to promote the island as a destination for as many different demographics as possible. Last week Pemayun explained to reporters how the Bali Tourism Office is seeking to attract high-earning Chinese tourists when borders eventually reopen.
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