Indonesia’s Minster for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, has announced that he wants to see direct flights from cities across India to Bali. He said that without direct flights, Bali risks missing out on receiving tourists from India who will take direct routes to destinations like Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore.
Minister Uno announced on Monday, 6th January, that he would coordinate with the Indonesian Ministry of Transportation to ensure that a direct flight service can be launched as soon as possible. He shared that direct flights would help both the tourism economy and the wedding industry.
Speaking to reporters during his weekly press briefing, Minster Uno said, “We will immediately coordinate with the Ministry of Transportation; they (India) also really want to start direct flights to Indonesia. We must be ready.” He reiterated the importance of the Indian travel market in Bali. He continued, “Without direct flights, [India] has entered the fifth position in terms of foreign tourist arrivals with a total of 5.61 percent.”
He noted that the wedding industry and the tourism sector must align to maximize the economic benefits of Indian tourism to Bali. Minster Uno added, “The wedding organizers in India say that Bali is very suitable because there is art, culture, spirituality, and in terms of costs, it is very affordable.”
In 2022, Minster Uno announced that he wanted to promote Bali as a world-class wedding destination. In terms of venues and hospitality, Bali is perfectly placed to become an even more popular destination for international weddings.
Speaking in September, Minster Uno announced that Bali’s hosting of the 8th Annual Destination Wedding Planner Exhibition posed a valuable opportunity for the island. He explained, “This activity is an opportunity to promote Indonesia as a beautiful and memorable wedding location for couples from various parts of the world looking to elope. Moreover, it is an opportunity to introduce Bali as a luxury wedding reception destination”.
He continued, ‘Bali, as a wedding destination, stimulates the local economy [encouraging] wedding organizers, music, accompanying bands, and many more that will benefit from the increase in the number of weddings. Bali is an increasingly popular wedding destination for couples from India. While there is not yet a direct flight to the Island of the Gods, there are many other aspects that make travel to Bali appealing to Indian tourists, namely the visa-on-arrival.
One honeymoon couple from India was recently interviewed by reporters about their decision to travel to Bali. Anand Kumar, 34, told reporters that he and his new wife had chosen Bali as the destination for their honeymoon based on affordability.
He said, “We wanted something different for our honeymoon, and we had already been to Thailand. We had to decide where to go based on where we could get a visa”. He noted that even without a direct flight, meaning they had to have a layover in Malaysia, their trip was far cheaper than if they had tried to book a trip to popular honeymoon destinations in Europe or the Pacific Islands.
Minister Uno voicing his support for a direct flight from India will be welcome news to tourism stakeholders in Bali who have been calling on airlines to launch new routes to the subcontinent since December last year. The Regional Leadership Council (DPD) of the Association of Indonesia Tours and Travel Agencies (ASITA), I Putu Winastra, told reporters that the organization was pushing for airlines to establish new flight routes as soon as possible.
Winastra said he and the council wanted to see direct flights to Mumbai first and foremost since the city is the wealthiest in India with a large demographic of middle-class and millennial travelers.
Bali Tourism Office has confirmed that an India-based airline has submitted requests to schedule flights to Denpasar, though officials have been unable to publicly divulge any further information until requests are either approved or denied by airport authorities.
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