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Image: Chinese Tourists are heading elsewhere. (ftnnews.com)

Thousands of Chinese tourists have cancelled their Bali trip during December 2017 until January 2018 due to the recent Mount Agung eruption and airport closure.

This information was in a statement from the Head of Bali Liang Tour Bureau (BPW) Group, Elsye Liang in Denpasar on Monday. She said that the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has set a limitation on its citizens coming to Bali, because of Mount Agung’s increased eruption activity.

“Until 2018 there won’t be any regular or charter flights to Bali,” she said to antaranews.com. According to Elsye, this announcement will really hit the Bali tourism sector until the end of January 2018. (On their website today, Garuda still appears to be flying during December and January. Ed.)

Data showed there were normally around 15 flights per day in low season and approx. 30 to 35 flights during high season from China, with approximately 150 passengers on each flight.

She also said they cannot predict the Chinese tourist visits in February, or during the Chinese New Year holidays. In the past, that was the peak of the Chinese tourist visits to Bali.

“If our government can handle the situation well in this (tourism) crisis, their impression to Bali will be good, and they will believe that our government will take care of their citizens in the critical situation like now,” she said. (Not sure which critical situation she is referring to. Ed.)

Elsye said that Chinese tourists weren’t exactly afraid of the Mount Agung eruption, but they are afraid that they cannot return to their country if there is a closure of Ngurah Rai airport again because of the ash cloud.

“We already told them that Bali is safe, there is no impact from the Mount Agung eruption (in the tourism area), but how to handle their return if Ngurah Rai airport is closed is still creating doubt. We must handle it well if there is another closure,” she concluded. (What’s handle it well mean? Bus them to SBY? Ed.)