Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The changing face of Bali tourism

Michael Gebicki

Rice fields near Ubud, Bali, with the volcanic peak of Gunung Agung in the background. Photo: Alamy
Australian travellers' love affair with Bali runs deep.

For decades Indonesia has been in second or third place on the ladder of preferred destinations among Australian travellers, and for most of those travellers their Indonesian destination has been Bali.

Since the 1970s Australia has been the number one source of foreign visitors to Bali, but that has changed in 2017. According to the Bali office of Indonesia's Central Bureau of Statistics, more than a million Chinese tourists visited Bali in the January-August period of 2017.

This represents a surge of almost 60 per cent over the number of Chinese arrivals for the same period the year before.

Chinese tourists made up more than a quarter of the total number of 4 million foreign tourists visiting Bali in the period, with Australians second at just under 20 per cent.

Big numbers of Australians are still travelling to Bali, 1.14 million in 2016, and that number is growing at a healthy rate.

However, the sheer rate of growth from the Chinese market – more than 40 per cent in 2016 over 2015 – means the number of Chinese tourists in Bali will dwarf the number of Australians forever after.

For many years, some travellers have been wondering how many more visitors the island can handle.

With this phenomenal rate of growth, Bali might soon reach the point of no return, even for those addicted to the Island of the Gods.
Michael Gebicki Nov 1 2017

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