Tourist Numbers Continue to Rise

Bali is banking on another bumper year for tourist arrivals, with figures released this week by the Central Statistics Agency revealing a 10.08% jump in arrivals at Ngurah Rai International Airport against last year’s figures.

In March 2011 a total 202,500 foreigners entered Indonesia through Ngurah Rai; this year the same month saw 223,000 arrivals.

Nationwide, March saw 658,602 tourist arrivals, up from 598,068 during the same month in 2011.

Total tourist arrivals in Indonesia in the first quarter of 2012 stand at 1.9 million, an increase of 11.01% on 1.71 million last year.

However, tourism officials warned that Bali’s operators must look to find custom in new emerging markets, as the global economic crisis impacts on traditional sources of tourists in Europe and East Asia.

Japan has dropped from number two in the ranking of tourist arrival numbers to third place, behind Australia and China. In 2007 Japanese tourists accounted for more than 20% of all tourists visiting Bali. Last year the figure was just 6.65%.

Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, head of the Bali Tourism Office, said that last year’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the ongoing economic woes there had likely caused the recent drop-off in visitor numbers.

Subhiksu said concerted efforts should be made to target countries such as India and Russia.

“We still have to maintain our traditional markets, such as Australia, European countries, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, but it is high time for us all to explore new markets,” he said.

Perry Markus of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association said that concerted marketing campaigns were needed.

“Market diversification must be accompanied by a series of effective and extensive promotional efforts. Thailand and Malaysia have been doing great in the promotion of their prime tourist destinations at various international tourist events,” he said.

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