While Bali airport has been closed for the third time last week due to ongoing Mt Raung volcanic activity, Indonesia Tourism Minister Arief Yahya highlighted to local media that the tourist sector in Bali had suffered losses of at least US$40 million in potential income.
However he still expressed his confidence in Bali resilience. He indicated that the Island should reach over four million guests in 2015, compared to 3.76 million last year. He also fixed an ambitious target of 10 million foreign tourists annually by 2019.
Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, Yahya said while in Bali: “The current projection for foreign tourists is 4 million a year. Because of this, we need a big push so Bali can welcome 10 million tourists by 2019.”
The island will however have to develop and spread tourism activities beyond its southern coast. According to the Minister, Bali should develop new tourism destinations outside of Bali’s southern regions, including Nusa Penida island located just a few miles off Bali’s eastern shoreline.The Minister however acknowledged that this development is for the time being handicapped by a lack of proper infrastructure such as road or air access. They are plans to develop now a rail network around Bali and to build a new airport in Northern Bali but both projects could take one or two more decades before to be realized.
They are also problems of electricity and clean water supply in some of Bali underdeveloped areas.