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Bali’s Deputy Governor Shares Concerns Over Rising Cost Of Airfares

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The Deputy Governor of Bali, Tjok Oka Artha Ardhana Sukwati, also known as Cok Ace, has expressed concern over the rising price of flight tickets to Bali. This is not the first time the Deputy Governor has highlighted the issue. Last month, he called on the central government to subsidize international flight tickets so that tourism would continue to flow to Bali, not other parts of South East Asia where fares were cheaper, like Thailand. 

Airplane Begins Descent Into Bali Airport Flying Low Over Traffic On The Road

Speaking in Badung Regency earlier today, 22nd September, Cok Ace expressed his frustration that airfares are rising with little kickback from the Bali tourism sector. He said, ‘We can see it from domestic tourist visits especially. In the past, domestic tourists [numbers] were very far [ahead] of foreign tourists, but now they are squeezed. Sometimes foreign tourists fly only 10,000 per day and domestic 11,000 per day’.

Domestic Tourist Explore Tanah Lot Temple At Sunset In Bali

Cok Ace is concerned that recent airfare increases will negatively impact the momentum gathered by the tourism sector. Currently, mass tourism is going strong in tourism hotspots like Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak. Other areas like Sanur, Nusa Dua, and Uluwatu welcome visitors regularly too. The Nusa Islands have also received a fair number of visitors daily, between 1000-1500. Cok Ace is concerned that this momentum will be lost if airfares continue to rise. 

Ariel View Of Seminyak Beach In Bali

Bali is currently well on track for hitting tourism targets by the end of the year. Closer to hitting the international visitor target of 1.5 million than their domestic arrivals target of 6.5 million. The increasing airfare is affecting domestic tourist numbers most noticeably. Tourism Minster Sandiaga Uno has given Bali tourism providers stern warnings to treat domestic tourists with respect after reports that moped rental shops were declining business from local visitors. 

Moped Driver Drives Down Quiet Bali Street Lined With Palm Trees

Domestic tourism is vital for Bali’s economy. Cok Ace is acutely aware of this and has confirmed that he has been in contact with the Ministry of Transport for support. He told reporters that he has asked for assistance in airfare reductions, starting with domestic travel. 

Speaking at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center, Cok Ace said his concern was that the decline in arrivals would be ‘imperceptibly’ slow. If authorities do not take action now, numbers might decline before solutions take effect. He said, ‘We don’t feel the decrease because, on the one hand, we are promoting [Bali], on the other hand, there is a counter-productive ticket price’.

Domestic-Tourists-Enjoy-Nusa-Dua-Beach-In-Bali

He explained that the provincial government is intensively working to promote tourism and the island’s economic recovery from the pandemic. He said, ‘if we look at the number of foreign tourist visits to Bali, which is 10,000 per day…before Covid-19 this used to be 17-18,000. Around 60-70% have returned, but [it’s not reflected] in the hotel occupancy rate’.

Domestic-Airport-Bali-Entry-For-Arrivals

President Joko Widodo heard Cok Ace’s calls for action last month and even called on the Ministry of Transport to investigate what could be done to tackle rising airfares for domestic and international travelers. He instructed ministers to increase the capacity of state-owned airline Garuda Indonesia to encourage travel.

The Minister for Transportation, Budi Karya Sumadi, responded and confirmed that the department is doing all it can to balance airfares and the inflation rate. He said, ‘We are maintaining a balance between capabilities and the transportation sector by not increasing tickets. I have told the Director General that we must talk in detail about how we regulate prices in a detailed context so that inflation in that sector is not too high’.

Passengers-Walk-In-Front-Of-Garuda-Indonesia-Plane-At-Airport-

Tourism providers in Bali remain hopeful that action will be taken to ensure that domestic and international arrivals will continue to rise closer to pre-pandemic levels. If arrivals were to plateau or decline across the board, there could be devastating impacts on the only recently stabilized tourism sector.

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Wim P

Saturday 24th of September 2022

Dear Mr Tjok Oka Artha Ardhana Sukwati.

I think it's a noble effort on your part to talk to the airlines about lowering the airfares so that several international tourists can visit beautiful Bali.

But also talk to the hotel managers because I see on the booking sites that many overnight stays will be increased by 80 to 100% in 2023 and that the high breakfast prices are preventing many people from visiting Bali.

It would be a pity that due to the high airfares and high hotel prices, people do not come to Bali and thus the economy will recover too slowly.

Hoping for a success for you and the tourists.

Yours faithfully,

W. Post.

Paul Speirs

Friday 23rd of September 2022

Get rid of the tax on arrival to start with. The main reason for the moped refused thr locals is that they can double the price for the white tourist

Sasha

Sunday 25th of September 2022

@Paul Speirs, 100% agree!

Exp

Friday 23rd of September 2022

In Indonesia everything is price regulated including airfares. Here they are venting their frustration that Indonesia is unable to price regulate foreign airliners as well. Well they can force Garuda to undercut on prices but then again Garuda has been in dire straits financially over the last few years.

Most foreign airlines are operating based on many constraints pushing up ticket prices, like: - Staff shortage after covid - Very high fuel prices - Inflation pressure

Potential visitors from Europe and US are under pressure: - High inflation - Increase in interest rates - High energy costs All resulting in less disposable income for travel

From article, quote "Around 60-70% have returned, but [it’s not reflected] in the hotel occupancy rate": Are the hotels rates too high so people prefer villas?

Vicki

Friday 23rd of September 2022

Didn’t mr coke ace want more upmarket tourists who could afford expensive airfares and accommodation cheers vicki

John Parfitt

Friday 23rd of September 2022

Garuda needs to start flying two direct flights a week to Auckland New Zealand the plane will be fill of passengers both ways