Following a flurry of domestic travelers over the Eid Al-Fitr weekend, the number of domestic travelers arriving in Bali has started to decline. In the days leading up to the Eid holiday, Bali welcomed an average of 39,000 people per day. Since then, the number of domestic arrivals has decreased by 10% per day. This was to be expected and the Bali Tourism Office is not disheartened by these figures.
Many of the visitors arrived in Bali by ferry, since travelling by boat from Java is often cheaper than traveling by plane. Over the Eid weekend, travelers from Java arrived via I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport, Padang Bai Harbor, and Gilimanuk Harbor in Jembrana. Sanur Port welcomed a record number of visitors through the harbor. The influx of travelers to Bali mainly concentrated in Kuta and Seminyak, though thousands of visitors traveled to neighboring islands of Nusa Dua, Nusa Lembongan, and the Gili Islands.
In a pre-pandemic era, seeing domestic tourism numbers fall so rapidly and consistently would be a cause for concern. Many of the domestic travelers who headed to Bali from cities across Java have now returned home. Given that the pandemic is not over, and many workers are only just returning to employment following successive lockdowns, disposable income for long vacations is not readily available for the average family in Indonesia at this time.
The tourism board has said that they are not concerned but this decline in incoming domestic travelers and have described how they are anticipating a steady increase in international visitors from here on in.
With the Australian winter holidays approaching, and the long school holidays for the European summer, Bali can expect to welcome substantially more international visitors in the coming months than in the last two years combined.
According to Gunandika, the Head of Tourism Marketing Development at the Bali Tourism Office, Bali is welcoming on average 4,000 international travelers per day through Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar. The airport management team is bracing for an influx of Australian tourists in late June and July.
Since the reopening of Indonesia’s borders in February, and the full resumption of the visa on arrival program in late March, Bali has seen a slow but steady increase in visitor numbers. Despite the central government keeping Bali on Covid-19 Restriction Level 2, visitors seem comfortable and confident to return to Indonesia.
Beaches, cafes, restaurants, and event spaces are all open and operating at a limited capacity. For example, cafes and restaurants can operate at 75% seating capacity and diners are allowed to sit for a maximum of an hour.
The success of the vaccine rollout across Bali has been another key reason why travelers feel confident to return to the Island of the Gods. There has been a 100% uptake of the vaccine across the medical sector and strong uptake of the vaccine across the younger, working population of Bali. There is now a campaign from the local Covid-19 Task Forces to ensure that the elderly and vulnerable are receiving their second and even booster vaccines.
The return of major airlines to Bali Airport has been another key signal that the international tourism industry is bouncing back. Airline giant Emirates has resumed its Bali-Dubai direct route five times a week. According to airline officials, there are plans to have this route running daily by July. Other operators like Jetstar, Qantas, and AirAsia are all offering flight deals to and from Bali.
The tourism industry, like any industry, responds to demand. If hotels, airlines, and tour operators are beginning to increase their offerings it is a clear sign that they are confident that the upturn in international traveler numbers will sustain.
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