Image: Foreign tourists at Ku De Ta, Seminyak. Credit: ST. Text D Trauts.
Foreign tourist arrivals to Bali during January to May 2019 reached a total of 2,292,771, which was a drop of 2.37 percent when compared to the same period of 2018, which reached 2,348,455 visits.
Related authorities have taken this news as a warning that they need to work harder and make extra efforts to achieve the target of 7 million foreign visitors to Bali this year.
There were several indicators that are of concern. Chinese tourists who have dominated the arrivals to Bali in recent years dropped 6.88 percent from 545,687 during the same period in 2018 to 508,164 this year. The same occurred with Australian tourists, which dropped 3.27 percent from 439,917 in 2018 to 425,527 in 2019. India, which ranks 3rd, also dropped 6.46 percent.
Data from I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport showed that the total number of foreign tourists visiting Bali in May 2018 was 400,512. While in May 2019 there were 351,671 people, which was a drop of 12 percent.
Chinese tourists in May 2018 totaled 125,240 people, which was a drop of 29 percent this May to 89,281 people.
The Head of Bali Tourism Board, Anak Agung Gede Yuniarta Putra, surmises the drop in numbers was caused by several incidents in Indonesia in recent times, such as a string of earthquakes and tsunamis over the past year and then the Presidential Elections on April 17, 2019, (and rioting after the official results were announced. Ed) also impacted foreign tourist visits. “Several countries issued travel warnings because of it,” he said to nusabali.com on Wednesday.
Yuniarta told reporters that the Chinese numbers have also been affected by the closure of the Chinese mafia network shops in Bali late last year that were bringing low-end tourists to the island. Now the quality of the Chinese tourist is higher.
“We are now looking for quality, not quantity,” said Yuniartha, during a visit of the Indonesian Ambassador to China to his office at the Bali Tourism Board on Friday (21/6 / 2019).
Yuniarta also stated that there is no other option now than all related parties working harder to increase the number of foreign visitors. “The government has issued an official statement that explained the condition in Bali is safe and conducive,” he added and explained that his side continues to promote Bali tourism through media and forums, and they will hold sales missions to China and India in July. “We still hope that we can reach this year’s target of 7 million arrivals,” he added.