Thousands of Chinese tourists are arriving en masse to Indonesia, especially to Bali, after authorities in China lifted travel restrictions early this month. Since then, the Indonesian government has been exploring ways to attract more Chinese tourists, including the possibility of direct flights from three major cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Indonesia is targeting 255,000 tourists from China by 2023. Indonesia recorded 94,924 visits from China from January to October 2022. More than 2 million tourists from China visited Indonesia each year before the pandemic.
Indonesia is in the top 5 searches and Bali’s search volume has increased by 250%.Sandiaga Uno, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy
The return of Chinese tourists is expected to support the overall foreign tourist arrivals target this year. Indonesia aims to record 3.5 million to 7.4 million foreign visits, Sandiaga Uno, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, said in a statement Friday. China is one of the biggest markets for inbound tourism in Indonesia.
“According to data from online travel agents in China, there has been an increase in the search volume for overseas tourist destinations by 430%. Indonesia is among the top 5 searches and the search volume for Bali has increased by 250%,” Uno said.
Tourism in Bali is starting to recover after a very difficult period. In 2021, Bali only received 45 international tourists, mainly because of the strict border control measures and a closed airport. This number provided by the Central Bureau of Statistics of Bali, and later on was confirmed to CNN by Nyoman Gede Gunadika, head of the tourism section of Bali province.
After being accustomed to the arrival of millions of people who visit it annually, the tourism sector has suffered the side effects of the pandemic. Tourism represents a very important source of economic resources for many countries, such as Bali, the Indonesian island so beloved by travelers from all over the world. But with the pandemic, the sector of this popular tourist center has suffered severely.
Bali went from welcoming 6.2 million international visitors in 2019 and 1.05 million in 2020, to just 45 in 2021. The 45 visitors were recorded between January and October 2021 and is a figure confirmed by the Bali Central Bureau of Statistics. These are tourists who have almost all arrived via private yachts, due to the fact that the island’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar has been closed to international flights almost all year.
The hospitality industry, however, is facing challenges to hire enough workers. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, close to 1.5 million foreign tourists visited Bali between January and October of 2022, compared with under a hundred arrivals in 2021. Local authorities announced that they had planned up to 1.5 million arrivals during the Christmas period, as reported by Al-Jazeera. Nearly half of workers in Bali, reported losing income in 2020. Tourism accounts for 60-80 percent of the economy.