Wed, 03 Sep 2008
From: The Jakarta Post
By Andra Wisnu, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar
The number of foreigners visiting Bali rose again in July, although more were having shorter stays, Bali's Central Statistics Agency reported Tuesday.

The number of foreign visitors rose by 7.02 percent to 183,325 in July compared to 171,301 in June, agency chief Ida Komang Wisnu said.

"With five months to go, I believe Bali could see more than 2 million foreign visitors by the end of this year," Wisnu said.

"Especially because over the next few months will be tourism's busiest times."

Wisnu was referring to the holiday seasons of Idul Fitri in October, Christmas in December and New Year's celebrations in January.

In July, Japanese travelers make up the most foreign tourists visiting Bali at 19.50 percent of total visitors to Bali.

Australian tourists come in second with 18.39 percent of total visitors, followed by Taiwan with 6.88 percent.

From January to July, a total of 1.11 million tourists have visited Bali, an increase of 21.64 percent compared to 912,270 tourists during the same period last year

Japanese and Australian tourists continue to contribute a huge share of Bali's tourists. As of July, Japanese tourists make up 18.80 percent of Bali's total foreign visitors and Australia 14.90 percent.

However, despite having an increase in hotel occupancy along with the increase of foreign visitors, the agency noted a downward trend in their length of stay.

As of June, star-rated hotel occupancy rate rose by 5.94 basis-points to an average of 69.90 percent compared to May's numbers and length of stay decreased by 0.17 percent, down by an average of 3.42 days from 3.59 days in May.

Non-star rated hotels also experienced an increase in occupancy rates as of June, up by 6.75 percentage points to an average of 37.89 percent, while length of stay decreased by 0.16 basis-points to an average of 2.69 days from 2.84 days in May.

"We're not sure why they're staying for less time. It might still be a matter of security issues, but the respective government offices are still looking into that," Wisnu said.

Bali's tourism industry experienced a drastic downward turn after the 2002 Bali bombing in Kuta that killed more than 202 people, including 88 Australians. A second bombing attack in 2005, which killed 20 people and injured many others, further hurt the industry.

After the incidents, a number of alleged terrorists have been arrested and no other attack has taken place since 2005, with the tourism industry enjoying a resurgence of foreign travelers.

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Bill Farmer recently said the number of Australian tourists traveling to Bali in July was the more than any other month this year.

As of June, Indonesia has recorded about 2.9 million foreign travelers, with the majority of them traveling to Bali, less than half of the country's target of 7 million foreign travelers by the end of this year.



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