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Bali expects more Japanese visitors (7/05/2012)

 by Wasti Atmodjo on 2012-05-07

Despite the ongoing slump in Japanese tourists coming to Bali, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, as well as related stakeholders in Bali tourism, expressed their confidence that the Japanese influx would improve within the year.

“We are happy that Garuda Indonesia has finally opened a direct flight from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport to Haneda International Airport in Tokyo, Japan, five times a week. We hope that it will increase the numbers of Japanese visitors to Bali in the coming days,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said recently.

Since late April, the national carrier, Garuda Indonesia, has been operating the Airbus 330 for flight GA 887, which can carry over 200 passengers, for the newly launched, five-times-a-week route between Ngurah Rai and Haneda. Aside from the new route, Garuda Indonesia also operates direct flights between Jakarta and Narita, Denpasar and Narita, as well as Denpasar and Osaka, all of which operate on a daily basis.

“We also expect to be flying everyday from Ngurah Rai to Haneda. We are hopeful this new route may motivate more Japanese to come to Bali, and Indonesia, in general,” said Garuda Indonesia Bali branch general manager, Didi Triatmojo, previously.

The ministry also assured the industry it will conduct a greater number of promotional activities in the “Land of the Rising Sun”.

“With improved quality and larger-scale promotions in Japan, we are optimistic that things will turn out better than they have been,” said Mari, acknowledging that the records show a deeper slump of Japanese visitors coming to Bali, than Japanese visitors coming to Jakarta.

Bali Central Statistics Agency (BPS Bali) recorded a 19.27 percent drop in Japanese tourists in March, to only 13,955 Japanese visitors, down from the 17,825 in the same period last year.

For the first time in years, Japanese tourists are ranked fourth in visitor numbers below Australia, China and Malaysia. Throughout the first three months of 2012, the number of Japanese guests had decreased 18.54 percent to 42,357, down from last year’s 52,253 visitors. This saw the Japanese rank third, below Australia and China, for this period.

During the first three months of this year, Bali also saw fewer Malaysian and Taiwanese visitors. Taiwanese guests decreased 4.43 percent from 28,558 people to 27,293, while there were 3.11 percent fewer Malaysians, from 40,118 people to 38,871.

For many years, the number of Japanese visitors always ranked at the top of the list of foreign visitors to Bali.

The slump began in 2009, when annual figures for Japanese visitors (316,473) fell to second position below Australia.

In 2010, the figure continued to fall by as much as 22.85 percent to 246,495 Japanese visitors. The sharpest decline was recorded last year with a fall of 25.63 percent, when Bali only welcomed 183,284 Japanese visitors throughout the year.

The overall numbers of foreign visitors in March, nonetheless, escalated 11.09 percent to 230,957, up from 207,907 visitors in the same month last year.

Within the first three months of the year, Bali recorded as many as 710,236 visitors, or 13.78 percent more than last year’s 624,195. The number of foreign tourists nationwide this year has also increased 11.01 percent to 1.9 million, up from last year’s 1.71 million.

Head of the BPS Bali branch, Gede Suarsa, cited an increased number of visitors this year from China, Australia, the United Kingdom, South Korea, the US, Russia and Singapore.