Chinese travellers represent now close to a quarter of all arrivals to the “Island of the Gods”.
Bali Discovery Tours, a major incoming tour operator , estimates that Indonesia’s most iconic island for visitors could hit a new record of 4.6 million international tourists in 2016. The TO bases its projection on the first numbers released for the first quarter of 2016 which experienced total arrivals rising by 15.2% to hit 1.09 million. In March alone, total arrivals were up by 19%.
However, Bali Discovery Tours estimates that this growth is far of profiting to the entire tourism industry. The TO speaks of a strategy favouring quantity over quality especially by luring more groups from China. Mainland China travellers now represent 22.74% market share with close to 250,000 travellers for the first quarter. Most Chinese travellers spend less and stay during a short period of time -on average three nights.
The rise in total air seats and the number of Chinese destinations linked by air to Bali gives an excellent snapshot of the irresistible rise of China in Bali tourism. According to data from FlightmapsAnalytics for May 2016, they are 10 Chinese cities -including Hong Kong- linked by flight to Denpasar International Airport. They represent 346 frequencies in the month with a seats capacity close to 87,000.
By comparison, Bali was linked to five cities -including Hong Kong- in May 2015 with a total of 229 monthly frequencies and 58,000 available seats. In May 2014, same figures reached respectively 86 frequencies and 18,000 seats. Bali Discovery Tours believe that Chinese arrivals should hit 900,000 arrivals, taking over Australia as the island’s largest inbound tourists’ market.
Australia remains Bali second busiest market with 241,000 arrivals from January to March , up by a meager 1.8% over the same period of 2014. However, the total number of Australia’s holidaymakers is likely to accelerate in the coming months following the abolition of visas for Australian citizens. Japan is a distant third with total arrivals hovering around 60,000 travellers. The Japanese market is recovering with total arrivals being up by 5.56%.
Europe remains meanwhile the second largest inbound market by continent. European tourist arrivals progressed by 31% during the first quarter with strongest growth rates being recorded by Sweden and the UK (both up by over 55%), Germany (up 44%) and Russia (up 27%). Among other overseas markets, good performances were also recorded by the USA and Canada, both respectively up by 28% and 20% as well as India, up by 58%.
In 2015, total foreign arrivals to Bali reached 3.92 million, representing a market share of 40.3% of all arrivals to the country (9.73 million according to official data from Indonesia National Office of Statistics).