The first direct flight from mainland China to Bali since the lockdown began arrived on Sunday, the 22nd of January, 2023. Lion Air facilitated the charter flight carrying 210 passengers from Shenzhen to Denpasar. Passengers and crew were personally welcomed to the Islands of the Gods by Bali’s Governor, Wayan Koster, the Deputy Governor of Bali Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace, and their delegation.
The news of a direct flight from China landing in Bali is welcome news to the tourism sector. Many tourism leaders have been calling on airlines to schedule direct flights from mainland China to Bali after China’s borders reopened on the 8th of January.
Governor Koster told reporters he was happy to welcome tourists from mainland China back to Bali after a three-year hiatus. He said, “with the presence of tourists from China, I’m sure Bali’s tourism will rise.” He reiterated tourism targets set by Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno, stating that he wants to see more than 4.5 million international arrivals in Bali in 2023, with tourists from China making up a large percentage.
Governor Koster told reporters, “the proof is that [tourists] are healthy, safe. Tourism is reviving, Bali is normal 6.3 million a year, hoping for 4.5 million this year”. Speaking to the press about the arrival of Chinese tourists to Bali, the Deputy for Marketing at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Ni Made Ayu Marthini, told reporters that this is the momentum that the tourism sector needs as 2023 begins.
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Marthini said, “Earlier, the Governor said 4.5 million, that is according to our calculations. If it is more, the better”. When asked about the prevalence of Covid-19 in China, Marthini put worries to bed, saying, “We already have herd immunity; in fact, starting tomorrow, the second booster will be throughout Indonesia, including Bali. We already have experience regarding COVID-19, the standards, and the SOPs. Hopefully, this will not become an obstacle in accepting Chinese tourists.”
Marthini added that the Ministry for Tourism is also exploring ways to promote Bali as the destination for travelers from across Central and South Asia, especially those overlooked by tourism departments from other nations. The Deputy Marketing Officer said, “For new countries, we want [new kinds of travelers]; there are a number of Central Asian and South Asian countries, which is very important. Because it turns out there are a lot of people who are in the high-end luxury market.”
Marthini added, “We are trying to bring tourists in [from places like] Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. If India is yes too, so there is diversification from countries of origin or markets that enter Bali.”
Minister Uno is also anticipating a sharp increase in arrivals from China in the coming months as data for travel trends shows that interest is increasing. Speaking on Friday afternoon, Minster Uno said, “Based on online travel agent data in China, there has been an increase in search volume for overseas tourist destinations by 430%. Indonesia is in the top five searches, and Bali’s search volume has increased by 250%.”
It has now been confirmed that the direct Shenzen-Denpasar flight from lion air will run once a week for the foreseeable future. The Indonesian Government will continue to seek opportunities to schedule direct flights from other large cities in China, namely Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai.
Lion Air’s Corporate Communications Strategy Manager, Danang Mandala Prihantoro, said that the direct flight from Shenzhen to Denpasar is just one way the airline is supporting the Government’s mission to bring in more tourism from China.
Danang told reporters shortly before Sunday’s flight arrived in Denpasar, “Lion Air has opened its first non-stop international flight from China to Indonesia. For the initial stage, Lion Air serves flights once a week. The China-Indonesia flight inauguration was carried out after the Chinese Government decided to lift strict international travel restrictions on the 8th of January, 2023”.
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Monday 30th of January 2023
How irresponsible of the Indonesian Govt. letting Chinese back without testing them for Covid. Obviously the tourist money means more than another Epidemic and an island close down like 2020/21.
Monday 30th of January 2023
Have all these Chinese tourist tested negative before getting on the plane, the last thing Bali needs is another Covid outbreak.
Saturday 28th of January 2023
Wednesday 25th of January 2023
Wednesday 25th of January 2023
Maybe Bali should pay attention to the Reality in China where deaths are rampant.
We all suffered from the Virus that originated there and its too soon open borders.
Bali is already clogged with too many cars and high demand for all pushing prices sky high.
This is a political and economical one rather than a senseable decision.
Lets hope full testing on arrival is done from hot countries with Covid and quarantine hotels setup.
Putting everyone at Risk for short term tourists who will contribute very little to justify such loose restrictions.
Bali spent so many years trying to get over Covid and now direct flights from the country with the most covid cases and deaths on the entire planet.