Indonesia’s national airline, Garuda Airlines, has resumed its service from Tokyo to Bali. This is the latest in a succession of flight resumptions in recent weeks, another positive sign that Bali is not slowing down in its recovery from the pandemic.
A flight carrying 150 passengers departed from Narita International Airport on Wednesday, 2nd November, at 11.00 am. Borders have only recently reopened fully in Japan, allowing Japanese travelers to leave the country for leisure purposes and for most tourists to visit Japan for leisure purposes visa-free. While borders in Indonesia have been opened since February, a notable presence has been missing from the tourist arrivals, namely from Japan and China.
The Garuda President Director Irfan Setiaputra told reporters that the new Denpasar-Tokoyo flight would help the national carrier to increase the cargo operation between the two cities. There are hopes that the new connection will increase the export of commodities from eastern Indonesia to Japan.
The Indonesian Ambassador to Japan, Heri Akhmadi, helped welcome passengers to the flight on Wednesday morning. This was the first Tokoyo-Bali flight in over two years. Akhmadi said, ‘Direct flights between Tokyo and Denpasar will accommodate foreign tourists, especially those from Japan who want to take a vacation in Bali’.
The flight schedule has been confirmed by Garuda’s General Manager for Japan, Sony Sahlan. He said the schedule would run three roundtrip flights every week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Sahlan confirmed that this schedule had been created to ‘follow the pattern’ of tourists from Japan who want to visit Bali.
Sahlan explained, ‘Two roundtrip flights per week will be cost-inefficient for them, once a week will be too long, so we give them the alternatives to spend three, four, or five days in Bali’. The three times weekly flight schedule is reduced compared to the pre-pandemic operation, which flew seven days a week.
Since Indonesia’s borders reopened in February, Japanese travelers have had to layover in Jakarta before flying onward to Bali. Many tourists from Japan visit Bali for long weekend getaways or shorter stays, and the direct flight to Bali will make a world of difference. The direct flight from Tokyo to Denpasar also aligns with the move to promote Bali as a destination for Japanese retirees.
A hospitality, tour, and travel company, Wiswacon Group, located in Singakerta Village, close to Ubud, are working to promote retirement tourism in the area. When it comes to relocating for retirement, there are many decisions for retirees to make regarding support systems, accessibility, financial resources, social care, and medical support.
The Wiswacon Group is starting to target Japanese tourists who want to spend their golden years in Bali through the establishment of a retirement resort. The new direct flight is one of the small but impactful factors that play a big role for travelers, especially those in their retirement.
This week New Zealand’s national airline, Air New Zealand, announced the re-launch of the direct Auckland-Denpasar flight. Tickets sold in record time, and flights resume from March 2023, just in time for the southern hemisphere autumn-winter holidays.
Speaking to reports during the announcement, Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty told reporters, ‘Our last flight was in 2019 when we flew around 17,000 customers…Bali regularly features as one of our top-searched destinations – currently in the top five – and we’re expecting interest to be hotter than the Balinese sunshine as Kiwis flock to book a winter getaway’.
Although many tickets are sold in minutes, many remaining seats are available. The Air New Zealand to Denpasar, Bali, route will initially run three times a week from late March 2023 through to September. Fights will take off from Auckland around midday and will touch down in Denpasar at around 4.20 pm local time. The route will run every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
The return leg of the journey will depart I Gusti Ngurah Rai International at 5.50 pm local time and arrive back in Auckland at 5.30 am the following day. The return services are also scheduled every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
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