Indonesia is the largest majority Muslim nation in the world, but that doesn’t mean that Christmas is just another day of the week.
Nationwide there are over 29 million Christians who celebrate the festive season, and although Bali is a majority Balinese Hindu province, Christmas is a big deal on the Island of the Gods.
Data revealed this week by the Ministry of Transportation through the Transportation Policy Agency gives a solid indication of how many people in Indonesia are planning to travel over the Christmas and New Year period.
While it may come as no surprise that I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport will be one of the best transportation hubs over the two-week period, the sheer number of people on the move is a lot to wrap your head around.
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Survey results reveal that it is anticipated that the potential for community and domestic tourist movement will reach 107.63 million people or 39.83% of the total national population this Christmas holiday.
In a written statement the Indonesian Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi revealed, “In last year’s Christmas holiday it was predicted that 44.17 million people would move, while this year it is predicted that it will be 107.63 million people. So the increase is very significant above 100% (143.65%).”
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The survey results suggest that 45% of domestic travelers will be heading to tourist destinations such as Bali, while 30% will be traveling to their homes outside of major cities, and 18% will be traveling to their families in their hometowns. Most domestic tourists will be traveling by road in private vehicles across the country.
However, the survey shows that an increased amount of travelers will be using public transport where available. Domestic travelers set to travel by train is predicted to be 13.16%, 14.79 million people, and travelers by planes will reach 11.91% which is around 13.38 million people.
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The busiest airports will be I Gusti Ngurah Rai International in Bali and Soekarno Hatta Airport in Jakarta. These figures are only an indication of the number of domestic tourists on the move during the end of December.
In 2022, Bali welcomed over one million tourists, international and domestic combined between Christmas Eve and New Year.
Minister Sumadi concluded, “We will coordinate intensively with regional governments, the police, toll road managers, BMKG, the National SAR Agency, and other related elements.”
The survey shows that the peak flow of outbound travel is set to take place on, Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd December 2023, and 30th December.
The inbound peak travel dates are predicted to fall on Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd January 2024.
For international travelers planning their Christmas and New Year vacations in Bali, what does this mean? I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport and partner airlines have already confirmed that more flights will be scheduled throughout December to help keep up with the huge spike in travel demand.
Officials have said that this increased flight availability will also help stabilize prices, preventing tickets from skyrocketing, especially at the last minute.
Popular airlines like Air Asia, Batik Air, Indonesia’s Garuda, Citilink, Lion Air, and Super Air Jet have all laid on increased international and domestic flights in preparation for next month.
Tourists planning to travel by driving around the island over the Christmas and New Year holidays should brace for traffic, especially traveling to and from the airport and heading to the island’s biggest attractions.
It is very popular for tourists on vacation in Bali to spend a few nights in one resort, and a few nights in another area of the island. It is highly advisable to travel as early in the morning as possible between resorts in order to reduce the risk of being caught in traffic during the holidays.
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