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More local tourists to visit Bali (24/04/2012)

 2012-04-24

Bali Tourism Agency predicted that the number of domestic visitors will keep increasing in the coming years. Once the expansion of Ngurah Rai International Airport, the construction of Benoa toll road and the Dewa Ruci underpass are completed, the number of domestic visitors could soar significantly.

Agency head Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu said that presently the majority of domestic visitors enter the island through Gilimanuk ferry port in the western tip of the island.

The port is around 100 kilometers from the domestic visitors’ favorite destinations in southern Bali, such as Kuta, Jimbaran, Sukawati and Ubud. Moreover, the main road that connects the port with those destinations is narrow and frequently prone to traffic jams.

“Domestic visitors usually have very limited time for vacations, from three to five days. They would certainly choose another alternative that is less time consuming than taking a long overland trip from Gilimanuk to their destinations,” he said.

Once the airport’s expansion project is completed, Ngurah Rai would be able to serve more domestic budget flights, which suit domestic visitors’ buying power, and offer the visitors a more convenient alternative to reach Bali.

“The local administration must also begin to think about adding more alternative roads to connect Gilimanuk to those destinations,”

The island’s domestic visitors mainly come from major cities in East, Central and West Java, as well as from Jakarta.

School and university students top the list of domestic visitors, followed by civil servants and private company employees.

In 2011, the island was visited by more than 5.7 million domestic tourists, a significant increase on the 4.6 million booked in 2010.

“The number has increased steadily by the years. Domestic visitors usually flood Bali during school holiday season, on public holidays and in the weeks prior to the new year celebration,” Subhiksu added.

A Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry survey disclosed that the average length of stay for domestic visitors has reached 3.9 days and average expenditure Rp 592,000 per person per visit.

“It is very clear that they have contributed significantly to the local economy and tourism. A large number of domestic visitors have also opted for starred accommodation in prestigious resorts in Nusa Dua, Sanur and Ubud,” he stressed, hinting that domestic visitors should not be seen as second-class clients.

Hadi Sutrisno, an executive with a tour operator focusing on domestic tourists, said the increasing number of domestic visitors is the result of the airlines’ policy of providing affordable prices for domestic flights.

“These competitive prices have lured more people to visit Bali. During holiday season, it is common for airlines to add more flights to Bali,” he said.

Previously, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu had expressed her optimism for the growing domestic tourism market.

At the national level, the number of domestic tourists in 2011 reached 125 million with 239 million trips and average expenditure Rp 662,800 per person per visit.

“We must launch efforts to make the most of the growing domestic market because domestic tourists are more loyal and not vulnerable to issues that may otherwise scare foreign tourists,” she said.

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