Issue #88 - 10 Takeaways From Bali's Early-Phase Tourism Recovery
"The second half of this year could be a little bit tricky for Bali."
Welcome to Issue 88 of Asia Travel Re:Set…
After a slow start in the first quarter of 2022, Bali is welcoming back visitors from around the world.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism & Creative Economy is targeting 1.5 million “quality”international arrivals in 2022. Domestic visitors are arriving in impressive numbers.
These are still early and uncertain days, however.
Bali is anxious to attract more flights to boost arrivals, while Indonesia’s government is voicing concerns about rising Covid-19 infections nationwide.
So, let’s check the travel pulse with two members of the Bali Hotels Association.
Thanks for being onboard.
The Sunday Itinerary
- “IN THE NEWS”
- 10 Takeaways From Bali’s Early-Phase Tourism Recovery
“The second half of this year could be a little bit tricky for Bali”
- Is Bali Tourism Back on Track?
Tracking the progress so far in 2022 with the Bali Hotels Association
“IN THE NEWS”
"Even if Southeast Asia continues to attract streams of tourists, air carriers may have to turn them away if they cannot find enough workers to service their flights." This week, I was interviewed by CNBC’s Rachel Phua for this excellent analysis of the challenging outlook for South East Asian tourism at the half-way point of 2022.
10 Takeaways From Bali’s Early-Phase Tourism Recovery
On this week’s The South East Asia Travel Show, we chatted to Simona Chimenti, General Manager of The Pavilions Bali and Marketing & Media Relations Director of the Bali Hotels Association, and Melina Caruso, Technology & Marketing Consultant for the Bali Hotels Association.
Here are 10 takeaways (and quotes) from the interview about Bali’s tourism outlook.
[NB: For space reasons, this edition features selected extracts only. See the links at the end of this newsletter to listen to the full interview.]
1) Travel Access Has Eased
“Since the end of March, the landscape of travelling to Bali has changed dramatically. With restrictions lifted, it’s much simpler to travel here now. You need to be vaccinated, have a valid passport and an onward ticket.” The current visa details can be viewed here. Indonesia could add a booster vaccine requirement to the entry terms.
* Unvaccinated juniors can enter Indonesia if accompanied by a vaccinated parent.
2) China is the Missing Link
The Top 10 inbound markets to Bali in 2022 (to the end of April) were: Australia, UK, Singapore, US, Germany, France, Netherlands, India, Malaysia and Russia. Bali is entering its peak season period, and would normally expect visitors from North East Asian markets, plus US, Europe, South East Asia - and Aussies escaping winter.
3) Hotel Pricing is Recovering
“All our members are still in a recovery period, so there are some interesting and competitive rates and offers out there. Occupancy is picking up, and the domestic market is playing a key role - and rates should follow suit.” Plus, many hotels don’t yet have their full room inventory available due to staffing and operational issues. “The hotel industry in Bali lost a lot of people during the pandemic.” Booking windows are also noticeably shorter than before the advent of Covid-19.
4) Domestic Travel is Buoyant
“Dometic is strong again. There are specific holiday periods that are popular. And, of course, the restrictions on travel have eased, so it’s easier and more accessible to visit Bali. Indonesia’s domestic market is definitely taking advantage of this right now.”
5) Hoteliers Crave More Flights
“Flights and hotels are the two halves of the equation, so getting more flights is a big challenge. At the moment, we are at about 50% of flight capacity compared to the pre-pandemic. Further increasing the amount of airlift will have a positive impact on the numbers, and should help lower flight prices. This will take a bit of time as airlines adjust their capacities to meet traveller demand.”
Thanks for reading Asia Travel Re:Set! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
6) Pandemic to Endemic
“Another main challenge is that we don’t take any steps back at this stage, and hope that the pandemic conditions slowly transition into endemic, and that we can to maintain the current freedom of travel.”
7) Visa on Arrival
“We’d all like to see further growth of the list of countries eligible for visa-on-arrival. There is room for improvement.” Indonesia currently has a list of 71 countries from which tourists are eligible for visa-on-arrival (12 nations were added from 31 May). The cost is IDR500,000 per person.
8) All Eyes on the G20 Summit
Indonesia is the current G20 president, and the 2022 G20 Summit (and side meetings) will take place in Nusa Dua from 15-16 November. “There are a lot of pre-G20 meetings taking place right now. This is bringing domestic business travellers to attend these meetings and prepare for the November G20, and various associated CEO, Investment and World Economic forums taking place in November. The G20 will place Bali in the spotlight, and in terms of visitors it should give a boost as November is normally a slightly quieter month.”
9) A Challenging H2 of 2022
Bali’s tourism reboot only began in earnest at the end of March, and although peak season should show measured progress, the outlook for 2022 could be challenging, “I think the second half of this year will be a little bit tricky for Bali, because we will have the G20 and a couple of other big events as well. Once those are out of the way, we’ll have a clearer idea about the tourism recovery picture.”
10) Forecasting 2023-2024
“It will take some time for a full recovery to take effect. It will likely be 2023, or maybe 2024, until we start to see numbers returning to pre-pandemic levels.”
Is Bali Tourism Back on Track?
On this week’s The South East Asia Travel Show, we check on the current state of tourism in Bali with Melina Caruso and Simona Chimenti of the Bali Hotels Association. Melina and Simona discuss the latest travel updates, including key visitor markets, hotel occupancy and room rates. Plus, we touch on emerging trends in hotel stays, human resource deficits and automation of hotel services.
And, we look ahead to the G20 Summit in November, and Bali’s recovery outlook for the next 18 months.
Listen to Is Bali Tourism Back on Track?, here:
Or search for The South East Asia Travel Show on any podcast platform.
And, that’s a wrap for Issue 88.