Chinese tourist numbers to Bali collapsed in 2019 with Australians becoming the top market for the island again as millennial looks for a spiritual retreat.
Although Bali continued to see more tourists visiting the island, the growth rate of total arrivals from January and November is one of the lowest of the decade, reaching only a 2.99% plus. The island recorded 5.738 million international arrivals compared to 5.571 million for the same period of 2018.
The mediocre result is due to a strong decline in the total number of mainland Chinese visiting Bali. Chinese travellers’ numbers are down by 13.8% from January to November 2019 compared to the same period of last year. It helped to push Australian travellers as the top market for Bali. From January to November, Australian arrivals reached 1.13 million compared to 1.10 million for Chinese travellers. Last year during the same period, Chinese arrivals topped 1.28 million while Australian arrivals reached 1.06 million. Bali tourism authorities had pinned their hope to welcome two million Chinese travellers in 2019.
Bali is becoming ever more reliant on Australian travellers but the profile of those travellers is changing. Many today are not coming for the sea, sun and fun holidays. In contrary, many Australians are looking to Bali as a haven of spirituality experience and visiting for meditation or yoga. One of the most popular destinations for a spiritual retreat is particularly developed around Ubud village with new chic eco-resorts spreading out and replacing traditional plantations.
Ubud’s fame has been rapidly growing among millennial hipsters due to a Holywood bio-drama called “Eat, Pray, Love” which promote the destination as spiritual heaven. The emergence of this “millennial market” is, however, proving vital to the continuing stability of the Bali economy, which now relies almost entirely on tourism.
Australians are now back as the dominant force as their number translated from January to November to more than US$2.5bn into the island. The Bali Tourism Agency is now pushing towards attracting more millennial travellers through dedicated online campaigns, next to culture and hospitality, spirituality is now an important tool for marketing initiatives.
“They care about the environment and spirituality, and we want to create spots that are Instagramable so they can share what Bali is really like with all their followers because millennials love to do selfie-posting. This is what we want to catch,” explained recently Bali tourism authorities to the Australian newspaper the Inquirer.
Another important market for Bali is now India. According to the data, Indian travellers represent the third-largest market for Bali, translating into 334.622 up by 4,49% followed by the UK with 263,471 arrivals, up by 4.89%. Bali’s fastest-growing market is, however, South Korea, up by 48.2% last year with a total of 192,061 travellers from January to November 2019 compared to less than 130,000 for the same period of 2018.