Even though Bali’s hospitality industry was hit hard by a rumbling and smoking Mount Agung in 2017, the island’s airport saw more passengers pass through than the previous year.
Throughout 2017, over 20 million passengers, domestic and international, traveled through I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, while that figure reached just 19.985 million over the course of 2016.
For 2018, the airport’s general manager, Yanus Suprayogi hopes that the volcano won’t worsen things in the long term and that that figure will go up even more.
“We expect to see an eight percent increase over the year, for 2018. That figure is adapted to current conditions. We are optimistic about the condition of Mount Agung, that the number of visits will continue to increase,” Suprayogi said on Sunday, as quoted by Bali Post.
Tourism numbers dwindled in the final quarter of 2017 when Mount Agung, which hadn’t erupted since 1963, started rumbling and smoking in September and finally blowing up with minor eruptions in November and December.
The island’s officials, however, insist that Bali remains safe for everyone outside of the exclusion zone, which has been set at a radius of eight to 10 kilometers from Mount Agung’s crater.
Although Mount Agung is at the highest alert level, “awas” (danger), the alert only refers to the exclusion zone, says the country’s volcanology center.
As for the island’s ambitious foreign arrivals target, Bali at least beat out last year’s numbers with 5.02 million foreign arrivals during the ten month period of January to October 2017 versus 4.07 million compared to the same period the previous year.
But it’s not yet clear if Bali Province met the goal of six million set by the national government for all of 2017.
Over the first ten months of the year, Chinese travelers dominated international arrivals, making up for 25.06 percent of foreign visitors, followed by Australians (18.76 percent), Japanese (4.46 percent), and Indians (4.43 percent), according to data recorded by the Central Statistics Agency, Bali Province.