Travel data shows that Bali is on track to beat tourism targets set at the beginning of the year.
By the end of December, the island will have welcomed at least 4.5 million international tourists and millions more domestic visitors.
Looking ahead, tourism leaders want to see people staying longer on the island.
At first thought, it may seem like the average holidaymaker to Bali spends somewhere between 7-14 days on vacation.
Backpackers may stay a little longer, and digital nomads are famous for eeking out every last hour on their visa before nipping to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur for a quick visa run.
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It is perhaps surprising to learn that the average international visitor to Bali stays just three days.
While tourists from further afield naturally spend as long as possible on the island to make the journey worthwhile, tourists from neighboring Singapore and Malaysia, as well as domestic tourists, account for a huge amount of Bali’s international arrivals.
With flights arriving and departing several times a day and with budget airlines making it evermore affordable to travel within South East Asia it is easier than ever for ASEAN tourists to nip to Bali for a long weekend.
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As Bali braces for the influx of tourists for the festive season, hotel operators, tourism attractions, and tour providers are looking for more innovative ways to encourage tourists to stay longer.
Many hotels in the most popular resorts in Bali sell out over the festive season, so tourists planning their visits to the Island of the Gods are advised to book ahead if they can.
Many top hotels in Bali have long-term room deals for guests to want to stay longer. Some of the top resorts have booked four nights, paid for three style deals, or even booked five nights stay for seven.
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Hotels like Desa Potato Head in Seminyak have a great range of deals right now. As does the Mandapa, A Ritz Carlton Reserve in Ubud, the iconic Padma Resort in Legian, and the Mercure Bali Sanur Resort too.
Shopping around for deals at this time of year is highly advisable as hotels, resorts, and guesthouses look to sell out ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.
So how do tourism leaders plan to encourage tourists to stay longer in Bali?
The Chairman of the BPC Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) Badung I Gusti Ngurah Rai Suryawijaya explained to reporters, “Extending the length of stay is one of the jobs of all parties, especially tourism stakeholders.”
He noted that tourists will only extend their average stay if and when the tourism experience improves in quality too. He wants to see the average stay increase from three days to one week.
According to Suryawijaya, “innovation and increasing attractions could be one way to increase the time a tourist stays in Bali. For example, the first day to Nusa Penida, the second day to Ubud, the third day back, for example, the starting point in Kuta, and other attractions”.
He added, “Increasing the variety of DTW [government-supported tourism attractions], perhaps could be an effort to invite more tourists, as well as increase the length of their stay in Bali.”
Regencies are already adding more tourism destinations to their offering. Just this month Bangli Regency has formally taken over three community-run waterfall destinations.
Tourists can look forward to a more elevated tourism experience at Tibumana Waterfall in Susut Village, Tukad Cepung Waterfall, and Goa Raja Waterfall, which are both in Tembuku Village.
Over in Tabanan Regency, there are hopes that the famous Kayu Putih tree will be granted formal DTW status.
This would mean that the teams currently managing the tourist destination would be given financial support from the regency and provincial government to train guides, improve public facilities like parking and bathrooms, and better conserve the surroundings.
One thing is for sure: three days is not nearly enough time to dive deep into the wonders of the Island of the Gods. Even seven days in the sun would only scratch the surface.
From the mountains of the east to the beach resorts of the south, the waterfalls in the north, and the National Park in the west, there is a lifetime of exploration to be done in Bali.
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