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Foreigners arriving at Bali Airport. Credit ST.

ACCORDING to air traffic statistics at I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport, international arrivals from December 18 to December 24 rose from 10,605 passengers on December 18 to 12,346 passengers the next day, then followed 12,385, 13,679, 12,346, 15,000, and on Christmas Eve 14,274 passengers arrived.

Domestic arrivals kept rising during the same period, from 12,614 passengers on December 18 to 14,132 passengers to 17,383 passengers on December 24.

According to the Chief of Bali Tourism, AA Gede Yuniartha Putra, the number of the international arrivals exceeding 14,000 passengers is remarkable since the airport closed in late November.  Moreover, the number is not including the Chinese airlines that are still not flying to Bali.

Before the Mount Agung eruption, he stated that the average daily international arrivals to Bali was more or less 15,000 passengers. “So, this is a remarkable increase in arrivals to Bali especially considering the Chinese aren’t coming still,” he said to He said that they still cannot calculate which country had the most arrivals. “We will know that at the end of the month,” he said.

Meanwhile, the domestic arrivals to Gilimanuk Port were also increasing. Business Manager of Gilimanuk, Heru Wahyono, stated that the increase occurred since the start of the school holidays. Usually, on weekdays, the average of the passengers was only 18,000 passengers per day. The passengers on December 24-25 totaled 31,100 passengers, an increase of 1% from 2016.

He said that the traffic was dominated by buses and private vehicles. Right now the flow is still smooth and there are few queues at the port, but he predicted that queues will occur when they return from Bali.

To anticipate unwanted incidents, Jembrana Police assigned its officers to guard the western Bali entrance since Saturday, with an increase from 30 to 100 officers, including armed officers from C Detachment Mobil Brigade Corps of Polda Bali.

The Head of Polres Jembrana, AKBP Prianto Prito Hutomo, said to that the addition of troops was needed to check vehicles, people, and cargo carefully, whether in or out from Bali.