Flights Resume in Bali but for How Long?

Indonesia, Bali, Volcano

Bali volcano eruption will probably make Indonesia missing its target of 15 million foreign arrivals in 2017, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

Airlines resume their flights to and from Bali on Sunday and Monday but this could be only short lived as Mount Agung volcano continues to spit ashes and steam. Airlines have been fast to put aircraft in service before winds turn again and eventually spread ashes at Denpasar International Airport, blocking air traffic. On Thursday, about 10,700 foreign and 6,400 domestic tourists left Bali, airport data showed. But on Friday, traffic was again interrupted to resume on Sunday.

While airlines monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis, tourism losses are mounting for the island as tourists are now scared to come to visit. According to Indonesia Minister of Tourism. Last Wednesday, Minister Arief Yahya indicated in a statement that Bali receives on average 15,000 foreign tourists per day who spend on average US$1,200 per capita. Tourists to the island on average spend four days.

Each time the airport closes because of the eruption, he estimates that tourism is losing US$360,000 per day. “Now it has been 36 days since the alert status and we have lost Rp 9 trillion [$630 million],” Arief said to Indonesian journalists.

The losses for tourism could even be greater as Bali enters the peak season with an average of 20,000 tourists arriving every day. “This natural disaster seriously affects tourism. This period is supposed to be the harvest time,” he added.

The Bali situation continues to be unstable as experts still expect a bigger eruption of the volcano. Mount Agung has already a consequence. Mr. Yahya indicated that Indonesia is likely to miss its target of 15 million foreign tourist arrivals this year as  Bali is the country’s main tourist destination, representing over 35% of all arrivals to the country.

The best that can be hoped of the target will be around 93 to 95 percent fulfillment, about 14 million, indicated the Minister.