The number of tourists arriving in Bali has dropped drastically during the pandemic, but officials noted a slight increase right before the Christmas holiday, which may explain the year-end tourism boom (in the pandemic era) the island is experiencing at the moment.
According to Taufan Yudhistira, a spokesperson for the airport management firm PT Angkasa Pura I, Ngurah Rai Airport saw increased activity ahead of Christmas as domestic travelers sought to spend the holiday on the island.
“The peak of departures and arrivals in Bali through Ngurah Rai Airport was 16,789 passengers on Wednesday, Dec. 23,” Taufan said yesterday.
According to Taufan, this year’s number is 82 percent less compared to the same period last year. The total number of passengers who passed through Ngurah Rai during the period of Dec. 18-27 last year was 744,885, whereas this year 137,505 passengers were recorded.
Even with the stark difference between the numbers, tourism operators in Bali have reported that business has been the best it has ever been since the pandemic began thanks to the influx of domestic tourists for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The number of arrivals in Bali could have been greater had it not been for a last-minute change to COVID-19 testing requirements before entering the province, which led to at least US$22 million in flight fare refunds (though this was admittedly for the best, in terms of public health).