Total direct foreign arrivals in March 2003 via Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport totaled 72,263 - signifying the slump in arrivals may be deepening somewhat.
March arrival's compared to the same month in 2002 were down 36.4%, a trend-line performance even worse than the previous month of February 2003, which was down only 30% from the year before.
Moreover, while March of 2002 seemed to mark the watershed following the 9-11 tragedy with robust record-setting arrival figures being recorded from April onwards until the October bombing, it is clear that the same game of statistical "catch up" will not occur in 2003 as monthly arrival patterns appear to be flattening.
Overall performance for the Asia-Pacific was down 30.35% month-to-month in March 2003, totaling 41.232. Australian arrivals were worse affected, down 42.9% at 8,732 from just a year before in 2002 and down 55% from 2001. Japan, one of Bali top 3 producing markets, was down 30.3% month to month when compared to 2002 and down 42.2% from 2001.
ASEAN was the one bright spot in the statistical picture, posting a 7.5% improvement in March over the same month in 2002 and a 101% uplift from figure two years earlier in 2001. Total ASEAN arrivals in March 2003 tallied 8.059. Leading the charge upward were Malaysia improving 114.6% and Singapore 55.1% month-to-month compared to March 2002.
The Americas slumped 48.3% in March from the same month one year earlier, achieving only 4,163 arrivals. Worst affected were U.S. visitors, down 53.4% from March 2002 and down 68.2% from March 2001. Canadian arrivals in March, meanwhile, decreased 45.7%.
Overall European arrivals month-to-month were down 52.1% in March. Leading the rush into negative territory were the United Kingdom down 68.3%; Sweden down 63.9%; France down 54.5%; Switzerland down 43.2%; Germany down 41.8%; and The Netherlands down 31.6%.
April figures, when announced, are unlikely to offer much room for optimism. The postive effect of hosting of the 52nd Annual PATA Conference in mid-April is expected to be more than offset by the negative impact on arrivals of the war in Irag, the SARS crisis, and confusing signals being sent by the government on when exactly visa rules will take affect are likely to combine to paint a continuing picture of doom and gloom in terms of Bali arrivals.
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