Confidence in Bali picks up as Mt Agung appears calmer

Things are looking up for Bali's hoteliers; Tanah Lot pictured

Bali hoteliers have seen a gradual restoration of confidence, with both leisure and business traveller numbers on the rise. This comes after the destination reported numerous trip cancellations following Mount Agung’s eruption earlier in November, resulting in low occupancies in its typical peak months of November and December.

Anton Adijaya, director of Bali Rani, said: “Some hotels were forced to ask staff to take leave as occupancy was so low (November up to mid-December), but the situation started to improve during the Christmas and New Year period.”

Things are looking up for Bali’s hoteliers; Tanah Lot pictured

He shared that European buyers at ATF 2018 were expecting demand from their customers to pick up due to promotional fares offered by some airlines between January and June this year.

“We are looking at some form of promotion so that we can boost traffic,” Anton said, and revealed bookings at Bali Rani were picking up from April onwards.

Peter Arya, director of Maya Resorts, shared: “Our European clientele knows Bali well. They are aware that our hotels are far away from the (volcano).

“Last year, we were doing very well with the (European) market, and this year we can at least reach the same level as we did last year.”

Similarly, Alpha Hotel Management (AHM) and Bali Villa Properties (BVP), which manage several hotels and villas in Bali have also seen the market bounce back.

Gufron, managing director of BVP, said: “Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s visit to Bali (around Christmas 2017 when he called at several tourist attractions) has really boosted the confidence of the (inbound) markets.”

“Some of our hotels are actually performing better this January compared to the last,” added Wayan Supandi, managing director of AHM.

Meanwhile, The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali and Bali International Convention Centre told TTG Asia that it has received some last minute business, allowing the resort to run at full capacity through the end of January.

Saraswati Subadia, director of MICE sales, said: “There are fewer leads, but we have seen last-minute bookings coming in. Earlier this month we received a group from an MLM company in China with 1,300 pax, booked with only two weeks’ lead time.

“We are getting some domestic (corporate groups) and a small one from India taking 50 rooms next week.”

Explaining the surprise surge in bookings, Saraswati said corporate groups have been “holding back” during the Mount Agung eruption, and are now “finally deciding to go ahead” with their events.

She, too, believes that the Indonesian president’s visits has a part to play in the brisk return in traveller confidence, and added that IMF’s and World Bank’s move to confirmed their annual meeting in Bali further reassured event planners.

“They now see that the island is safe,” she remarked.

At press time, Mount Agung volcano is calmer and the hazard zone has been reduced from 12 kilometres to just six kilometres.

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