Can Bali Win Back Australian Tourists?


Bali used to be the destination of choice for Australian tourists, with its proximity to Western Australia. Bali is both easily accessible and reliably inexpensive for holidaymakers wanting to find some all year round sunshine, white sandy beaches and a vibrant nightlife.

Despite the tragic attacks in 2002 and 2005 which killed 92 Australians combined, tourism has continued to boom. Bali has some picturesque and idyllic beaches for surfing as well as a well known vibrant nightlife that has helped it recover from these terrible events.

Kuta Beach is by far the most popular resort in Bali and also the most commercialized. Young Australians in particular are attracted to the cool atmosphere in the resorts and beaches. Of the 1.1 Million Australians that travel overseas every year for their holidays 1 Million of them go to Bali.

In recent years there has been a worrying decline in the Australian tourist market in Bali. Fewer Australians have opted to visit the island. There are a number of reasons for this, although their effects are debatable. Probably the most important reason has been the decline in the value of the Australian dollar in recent times. This has made overseas travel for many Australians very expensive.

A second reason has been the 2015 campaign on social media to boycott Bali following the execution of the so-called Bali 9 which included 2 Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Whether or not this scott had any impact on Australians going to Bali is difficult to quantify but as you wander around the resorts and beaches around Bali you notice a distinct lack of Australian tourists compared to 2 years ago.

Indonesians though are resourceful if nothing else and soon looked to new opportunities to plug the gap the Australians had left behind. They set about enticing Chinese tourists to the paradise island. With a population of over 1 Billion, around 100 Million Chinese tourists travel abroad every year. Indonesia's national airline, Garuda, this year started flying between Shanghai and Denpasar, Bali. This added to the already Denpasar to Beijing route and Denpasar to Guangzhou route. Chinese tourism in Bali is up 36% in the first 3 months of 2016.

The Chinese may provide a valuable alternative for the Bali tourist industry but there will always be a love affair between the island and Australian tourists. So Bali are now trying to win back Australian tourists. This year they went a long way in the right direction by eliminating the entry visa that Australian's used to have to pay. This was 50 Australian dollars or around 38 US Dollars. Over the years the Indonesia government has talked about eliminating the visa but it was not until 2016 that finally they joined 169 other countries in gaining free entry to the island.

Australians have certainly responded in kind by returning to the island making it their number 1 destination this year. Time will tell if Bali can continue to win back Australian tourists but the visa elimination will certainly go a long way to help.

Source by Stephen Holmes