One of Australia’s leading airlines, Virgin Australia has returned to the runway at Bali’s International Ngurah Rai Airport this week after two years away. The relaunch of the airline’s Australia to Bali routes has been a long time coming and brings a wave of relief for the tourism sector on the island. Australians make up the highest number of international visitors to Bali. The return of Virgin Australia to Bali airport will see international arrivals from Australia increase significantly.
The first Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Denpasar landed at 10.30 pm on Wednesday 15th June carrying 155 passengers. The plane returned to Sydney the following day carrying 120 passengers. As of Wednesday, all Virgin Australia flight routes to Bali have resumed, including Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. These flights operate daily throughout the peak season.
Bali Airport pulled out all the stops to celebrate the airline’s return to I Gusti Ngurah Rai International. The Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, personally attended the celebration, as well as the General Manager of PT Angkasa Pura for Bali Airport, Handy Heryudhitiawan, Australian Consulate-General to Bali, Anthea Griffin and Virgin Australia’s Outsourced Operations Manager, Garth Evans all welcomed passengers and crew into the terminal building.
Speaking at the event, Governor Koster said ‘The highest number of foreigners on the island of Bali is currently dominated by Australian citizens. For this reason, it is very important to maintain connectivity between the islands of Bali and Australia because the island of Bali has become a second home for Australians’.
His feelings were echoed by Anthea Griffin who express her gratitude on behalf of the Australian government and the airline. ‘After going through a difficult time, Virgin Australia is finally able to return to the island of Bali with the support of all parties. We thank you for the warm welcome by the people of the island of Bali towards us, Australians.’
Handy Heryudhitiawan spoke on behalf of Indonesia’s airport management company Angkasa Pura to say ‘Previously we have hosted two airlines from Australia, Jet Star Airways and Qantas with routes to various cities in Australia. With the return of Virgin Australia, we hope to further increase air traffic between Australia and Indonesia.’ The latest data shows that demand for travel from Australia to Bali has nearly surpassed availability ahead of the peak season in July and August.
Data shared by Bali Airport showed that Bali welcomed 48,000 Australian visitors throughout May, making Australians the top visitors to Bali. Before the pandemic, Australian travelers made up over a quarter of all of Bali’s international arrivals. Australians to Bali are closely followed by visitors from the UK, of which 15,000 headed to the island last month.
Travelers from India came in a close third with 14,932 people arriving in Bali to explore what the Island of the Gods has to offer. Indian travelers to Bali are an emerging market and one that the tourism sector will keep capitalizing on. India and Bali share many cultural and religious values, although there are distinct differences between Balinese Hinduism and the Hinduism practiced across the sub-continent.
Travelers can now access Bali directly from Australia via three airlines, Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Atlantic. Multiple times a week there are now direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Cairns, Perth, and Brisbane. As of March 2023, travelers from Australia’s Gold Coast will be able to fly directly to Bali. This week Virgin Atlantic launched the new service and hopes that the route will connect the two internationally renowned surf spots with ease.
Passengers on the new Gold Coast-Bali route do not need to pay extra to travel with their surfboards which is a huge incentive for budget-conscious travelers who want to nip to Bali to catch a wave at a moment’s notice. The route is also ideal for Australian families in the Gold Coast area who do not want the hassle of driving to Sydney or Brisbane before they start their holiday.
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