Hotels in Yogyakarta, Bali see higher occupancy
By I. Christianto
JAKARTA (JP): The hotel industry in the cultural city of Yogyakarta has slightly rebounded after the prolonged political and monetary crisis. This has been indicated by an increasing room occupancy rate in star-rated hotels in Yogyakarta.
The four-star Hotel Santika Yogya, for instance, has seen an average room occupancy of 60.4 percent by mid-October this year.
"The figures were only 35 percent and 47 percent in 1998 and 1999 respectively," said Santika general manager Donny Tisnantoro.
He said 70 percent of the guests were from Indonesia and 30 percent from overseas.
"It was the other way around two or three years ago. We know that Indonesia has seen fewer foreign tourist arrivals in recent years due to its social and political condition. Safety and security are the main keys in tourism and travel," he said.
Santika has had luck in terms of room occupancy since the average occupancy rate of star-rated hotels in Yogyakarta is only 30 percent.
The number of star-rated hotels in Yogyakarta has significantly increased in the last few years despite the visitor's average length of stay falling to less than two days of their trip, compared to the average 10 days spent traveling in Indonesia.
One reason why visitors spend less than two nights in Yogyakarta is the limited variety of tourist attractions.
There are only a few places of interest, including the Prambanan Temple, the Sultan's Palace, a silver center in Kota Gede and Parangtritis beach.
The average occupancy rate at star-rated hotels in Yogyakarta has not climbed over 50 percent, even before the crisis struck.
Data from the Ministry of Tourism in Yogyakarta show that the rate was 48.32 percent in 1995, 47.78 percent in 1996 and 45.7 percent in 1996.
The worst was in 1998 when only 24.8 percent of the hotel was filled. Last year, the figure reached 30.45 percent.
Interestingly, hotels managed by international chains have been popping up all over Yogyakarta.
These are the Holiday Inn, Sheraton Mustika, Radisson, Hyatt Regency, Melia Purosani, Novotel and Ibis.
Competition among star-rated hotels in Yogyakarta has become stiffer as a result.
Star-rated hotels run by domestic companies are, among others, Santika, Ambarrukmo, Garuda, Phoenix, Sahid and Mutiara.
In 1999, three-star hotels in Yogyakarta had an occupancy average of 40.12 percent, the highest figure among star-rated hotels in the city.
One-star hotels were second at 35.24 percent, followed by four-star hotels at 32.06 percent, five-star hotels at 23.16 percent and two-star hotels at 20.87 percent.
Last year, there were 38 star-rated hotels in Yogyakarta with 3,783 rooms. Nonstar-rated hotels totaled 383 with 6,015 rooms.
Hotels in Yogyakarta are facing hard times as there are fewer visitors in the city.
The total tourists staying at star and nonstar-rated hotels in Yogyakarta decreased significantly to only 514,147 last year from 1.18 million in 1995. The figure in 1999, however, was much better than the 387,928 recorded in 1998.
Out of the total tourists staying at hotels in Yogyakarta in 1999, 73,361 were foreign visitors and 440,986 were domestic visitors.
Guests at star-rated hotels totaled 688,321 in 1999. The figure comprised 143,105 foreign visitors and 545,216 domestic visitors.
Among the hotels seeing an increased occupancy rate were the five-star Sheraton Mustika Resort and Spa, Melia Purosani and Hyatt Regency.
Sheraton Mustika saw an average of 28 percent in room occupancy in the past six months. The highest figure was 41 percent in July, during the school holidays.
Hotel spokesperson Emma Octaviana said most guests at Sheraton Mustika were domestic visitors.
She said various conventions were held at her hotel, helping the room occupancy rate to rise.
Sheraton Mustika is the only hotel in Yogyakarta which has a 3,000-seat convention center, the country's largest outside Jakarta and Bali.
By rank, the usual foreign visitors to Yogyakarta are from France, the Netherlands, Germany, Britain, Japan, the United States, Japan and Australia.
In the meantime, the 300-room Melia Purosani maintained a 30 percent occupancy rate over the last two months.
Hotel general manager Frans H. Staats said the figure was better compared to last year, but everyone did expect a much higher figure to cover operational costs.
Atik Wildan of the Hyatt Regency said the average occupancy rate at the 269-room hotel was 45 percent in the first six months in 2000.
The country's prime tourist destination has a more favorable story.
Most star-rated hotels on this island have seen increasing occupancy rates recently after a decline in 1998/1999.
Just like other parts of Indonesia, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in Bali declined in 1999.
But the figure was much less compared to Jakarta, where overseas travelers traditionally begin their tour of Indonesia.
Several areas in Indonesia have been shaken by a series of outbreaks of ethnic and sectarian violence in early 1998, killing scores of people.
After former president Soeharto stepped down in May 1998, political instability and ethnic violence led to a dramatic drop in international tourist arrivals to Indonesia for the first time in a decade.
In 1998, a 16.4 percent decline in tourist arrivals meant only 4.6 million tourists visited the country.
Last year it welcomed some 5 million. This year, the government estimates that number to reach 6 million.
In the past, Indonesia enjoyed a 20 percent annual growth in tourist arrivals.
As one of the least affected areas, Bali is expected to invigorate the country's damaged tourism after the significant suffering.
Star-rated hotels have so far enjoyed increased occupancy rates. Businessmen who travel have frequently reiterated that Bali will need dozens of thousands of additional rooms within the next couple of years to accommodate some 7 million visitors by then.
There are over 100 star-rated hotels with more than 16,000 rooms in Bali, in addition to some 1,300 nonstar-rated hotels with more than 16,000 rooms.
Year-end holidays will be the traditional moneymaker for most hotels in Bali.
Budiarti of the five-star Kartika Plaza Beach Hotel in Kuta said the number of guests would increase by the year-end holidays.
She said her hotel now saw reservations averaging up to 103 percent. Conferences held at the hotel had also played an important role in lifting the room occupancy rate, she said, adding that 85 percent of the hotel's guests were overseas tourists.
Melia Bali Villas in Nusa Dua has also seen an increase by 3.16 percent in its room reservations to 96.77 percent in the last two months. The number of domestic tourists counts for less than 1 percent at this hotel, which offers 500 rooms and 10 villas.
Reservations reached 89 percent and 90 percent at Novotel Benoa Bali in September and October respectively. Hotel spokesperson Dewi said most reservations came from Europe. Domestic guests totaled some 5 percent at this hotel, which is located in Tanjung Benoa.
The Bali Hilton International in Nusa Dua had an average occupancy rate of 90 percent in the past couple of months.
Sukasarinadi, the public relations officer at the hotel, said some 95 percent of the guests were foreign travelers.
Meanwhile, the Hard Rock Hotel in Kuta saw an occupancy rate of 85 percent in July and August. The guests at the hotel were Japanese visitors (25 percent), Australians (20 percent), visitors from Taiwan (17 percent), Indonesians (19 percent) and Germans (10 percent).