While international arrivals to Indonesia this year surpass the pre-pandemic level, tour operators have yet to see traffic disperse beyond Bali.
Properties in Bali have more than recovered in hotel bookings – Nusa Dua Beach Hotel’s performance in May 2023 was already 10 per cent higher than the same period in 2019.
Over at Sol by Meliá Benoa and Sol by Meliá Kuta, cluster director Putu Yeni shared: “We aligned our target for the year with that of 2019, but by mid-year, our bookings are full till the end of the year. In fact, we have started receiving booking for 2024, (and have) just received seven bookings including one wedding from the UK for next year.”
Speaking to TTG Asia during the Bali and Beyond Travel Fair 2023, Ludri Ratnawati, director of sales and marketing of the hotel said: “Bookings for June to August are far ahead of 2019. This summer, Nusa Dua area is particularly busy. Moreover, the ANOC World Beach Games Bali 2023 (will take) place (from) August 5 to 12.”
Europe, the traditional market for the hotel, remains high, contributing 30 per cent of the international market mix, although slightly below 2019 levels.
“The UK and German markets slowed down a (little), but France, Poland and Italy are up. Our Australian market, which was only 11 per cent in 2019, is now 29 per cent,” she added.
Panorama Destination’s director Ricky Setiawanto also acknowledged the rapid growth of traffic to Bali, but remarked that most of his European travellers only stay on the island.
He noted: “The tourism recovery is strong, but only for Bali – our overland tours have not returned. Some travellers do (travel) out of Bali but only up to the neighbouring Lombok, Sumba or Labuan Bajo.”
Also, Middle Eastern flights to Jakarta cost more than to Bali, making it even less attractive to take the overland to Bali, Setiawanto opined.
While bookings from German-speaking countries to Bali were high, Marika Gloeckler, executive manager product and contracting, GoVacation Indonesia, said the numbers could be higher if more seats were available. However, most of her clients spent their 12-nights on the island.
She shared that the current trend is to focus on Bali before venturing out to nearby destinations, and that more may travel beyond Bali next year.
In addition, another issue she pointed out is that domestic airlines have not returned to pre-pandemic schedules and pricing, thus making it inconvenient for travellers to plan their trips.
She added that her company had relied on Garuda Indonesia before Covid, but the airline has yet to resume their flights. While Lion Air and Batik Air now cover many destinations in the country, their ever-changing schedules make it difficult to plan an itinerary.