Bali foreign tourist arrivals up 23.5 percent, dominated by Chinese visitors

Balinese sacred temple Tanah Lot is getting more and more crowded, especially at sunset. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Bali’s foreign visitor numbers are up so far in 2017, with a recorded 3.4 million international tourist arrivals to the island from January to July.

Compared to the same period last year, that’s a sizable increase of 23.5 percent, head of Bali Province Central Statistics Agency (BPS), Adi Nugroho, announced in Denpasar on Tuesday.

“Those who came through Ngurah Rai Airport, flying directly from their countries is as much as 3.39 million people and only 24,182 came through seaport via cruise ship,” Nugroho said, as quoted by Antara.

The gap in arrivals via boat, however, will likely change in the coming years as a luxury cruise terminal gets prepped for Bali’s Benoa Bay.

For 2017, Bali’s foreign arrivals target is an ambitious 6 million—a huge amount compared to the 2016 goal of 4.2 million. The island is hoped to carry 40 percent of Indonesia’s national 2017 target.

Out of the top ten countries supplying foreign tourists to Bali, eight have experienced significant increases this past year. The Chinese are leading the way, with the increase in Chinese tourists coming to Bali this year from January to July this year, compared to the same period last year, rocketing up 57.53 percent, says Nugroho.

While Australians remain the second most prolific foreign visitors in Bali, their numbers have taken a slight downturn of 0.88 percent from last year to this year. Malaysians have also dropped down 5.44 percent from the previous year.

Meanwhile, visitors from India rose 44.25 percent; from UK, 14.01 percent, from Japan, 7.02 percent; from the US, 19.4 percent; from South Korea, 24.64 percent; from France, 5.93 percent; from South Korea, 24.64 percent; from Germany, 18.81 percent.

While the big foreign arrival numbers are certainly met with fanfare from Indonesian tourism officials, the mass of tourists flocking to Bali has some analysts concerned about the island’s capacity.

The government is too busy developing tourism infrastructure and facilities in the island’s already too-crowded south, according to analysts at the central bank, Bank Indonesia. Instead of focusing purely on arrival targets, the government should be looking more closely at “tourist quality” as tourists are measured to have been spending less time and money in Bali, analysts argue.

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