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Bali Tourism Minister Calls On Airlines To Add More Flights

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Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies Sandiaga Uno, has told the media during his press conference his plans to recession-proof Bali. He shared with reporters how he and his teams are adjusting their strategy for 2023 in light of global economic change. He suggested that with the threat of a worldwide recession, Indonesia must stay ahead of the game to help reduce the impact on the country’s tourism sector. 

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Minister Uno led by explaining how the world’s three major economic areas, North America, China, and Europe, are all heading toward recession in 2023. He said, “Of course, this will have an impact on people’s spending, especially in the tourism sector. Therefore, we immediately made adjustments in terms of focus on developing tourism and the creative economy, especially foreign tourists.”

He highlighted how there is an increased interest in Indonesia as a tourism destination from travelers from India, Australia, and New Zealand. He continued, “also, Malaysia and Singapore are still growing.” Minster Uno shared that the adjustments needed to help recession-proof the tourism sector include marketing, like his partnership with Airbnb, and the provision of more direct flights to the country’s leading tourism destinations like Bali. 

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Bamboo Hut Treehouse from Airbnb in Bali

He explained, “there have been several foreign direct flights from Qatar and Dubai that have already delivered. We also want additions from Singapore and several ASEAN countries. This is what we are trying to do in the first quarter of this year in collaboration with airlines and the Ministry of Transportation so that the market is very this potential also includes India being served by direct flights, especially to the two leading destinations, namely Denpasar and Jakarta, maybe later it can be added to other destinations”.

There has been speculation around the launch of direct flights from mainland China and direct flights from Mumbai in 2023, though official statements have yet to be made by airlines or the Department for Transportation.

Air India Plane on the Airport Tarmac

Minister Uno is keen to ensure that tourism development is not only concentrated in Bali. He has identified five super-priority areas for tourism development. These include Lake Toba in Sumatra and Labuan Bajo in the Flores Islands. 

Despite the looming global recession, Minister Uno remains positive about the prospects of the Indonesian economy in 2023. He said, “Indonesia will still grow by around 5 percent. Of course, we must focus on encouraging the movement of domestic tourists to reach the target number of 1.2 billion to 1.4 billion. We will greatly encourage the movement of domestic tourists”. 


Minster Uno set his targets for the tourism sector in 2023 in late December, having smashed targets for 2022. In addition to the billions of domestic tourism movements, he wants to see 7.4 million international arrivals to Indonesia by the end of the year. Speaking at the time of the announcement, Minster Uno said, “This can be achieved if the focus is on two strengths, namely nature and culture. In addition, tourists with a special interest in ecotourism, spiritual tourism, and religious tourism”.

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Tuesday’s press briefing concluded with more dialogue around how the Ministry for Tourism can facilitate improvements to domestic tourism across the country. Minister Uno said, “What about the definition of the movement of domestic tourists who move between districts for more than 6 hours this can be triggered by several activities such as events, culinary tours, shopping tours, healing tours, as well as tours in tourist villages around us”.

Minster Uno handed over to the Deputy for Strategic Policy at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Nia Niscaya, who encouraged Indonesian citizens to explore their home country. 


Niscaya said domestic tourism is good for communities and the economy, adding, “events can be enjoyed by people outside their regency area and are counted as domestic tourists. Because basically, the movement of people will lead to economic movement.”

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Sunday 15th of January 2023

But the airport cannot handle the tourists ... already today you must spend many hours in the immigration waiting queue.


Monday 16th of January 2023

@Patrick, Crap.


Saturday 14th of January 2023

I would love to go there right now and pay the airline ticket but because of the vaccine requirements the 6 family members can't go and would have been 3 times already since the COVID thing happend. Even through we all had COVID very early on. Travel to and in Bali is difficult already and now that there is more things to do upon entry just makes less people bother going. Another thing is I'm sorry to say but more Chinese and more Indian tourists is going to ruin the ( I presume they mean alot more) is going to reduce the amount of Australian and new Zealand tourists. It is now known that having the vaccine doesn't reduce the spread so why is it still a thing.


Sunday 15th of January 2023

@Pc, Check the precovid figure. China was up there vying for #1 and #2 with Australia. Didn't worry the Australians then.

So what if there's more Chinese, Indians or whoever. Get outside that small Ozbalia, Boganville, Ockerville area and meet/mix with some nice friendly people - Balinese and enjoy what a beautiful place the rest of Bali is.

Charging for a VOA inhibiting things? Check that out as well. It was introduced in April 2003, almost 20 years ago, at the same price it is now. Obviously didn't slow things down.

The arrival hall, VOA, Customs and Immigration are now far more streamlined. Extra stuff to do? How long does it take to have your vaccination certificate(s) ready with your passport?

The biggest price rise is airfares, and that applies to most places, not just Indonesia.


Friday 13th of January 2023

With the looming recession don't expect more tourists, expect less. Remember, recession means less money to spend on trivial and luxury things and vacations to Bali and others are first to be axed.


Thursday 12th of January 2023

Sandi will say anything to please the psilocybin-intoxicated Bali tourism industry stakeholders and industry workers, to gather votes for 2024. It's been going on since March 2020. Thinking masses are gonna be able to afford long distance traveling in 2023 and beyond is hypocrisy at its best. The recession is on, it's global, and here to stay for years. So when people barely can afford 2 meals a day and spend all their wages on energy, tell me who's gonna come to Indonesia and with what money when everything is spent on the basics for survival? 228% increase in foreign arrivals in 2022 compared to 0% in 2020-2021?! But of course, the country was closed to almost anybody without a residency permit or social visa. It's easy to throw such numbers to braindead local journos. The draconian vaccine mandates doesn't help either, this country is one of the last bastions of the Covid medical tyranny, many tourists choose more Human Rights friendly destinations for their holidays for good reasons. Another loss of millions of tourists for Indonesia. The country will be lucky if it reaches 25% of pre-Covid international arrivals level by the end of 2023.


Sunday 15th of January 2023

@Jimbo,Yes, RI requires proof of vaccination. It's for your own protection. Don't like it? Don't come. The number of reported cases has been rising in the latter half of 2022. Pre covid the annual inbound number was 6.3 million. An average of 560,000 a month. In November 2022 287,398 people came. The June - November average is around 280,000 and growing. That's already 50%. I think your calculator needs new batteries. BTW the planes are full, and as yet it doesn't include China, the #1 or #2 country prior to covid.


Friday 13th of January 2023

@Jimbo, well said, totally agree 👍


Thursday 12th of January 2023

Build more and better roads before calling for more tourist. Everything is way over it’s capacity already.


Friday 13th of January 2023

@Hub, Yep!