May arrival figures gave little hope to those looking for recovery from the continuing business slump dating from the October 2002 terrorist bombing of several Kuta night spots. May arrivals through Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport totaled only 47,858 – down a remarkable 59.9% from the same month just one year ago.
Bali's arrival totals for the first five months of 2003 logged in at 307,326 - down 41% from the 521,091 visitors achieved in 2002.
A Widening Gap
Unlike Bali's recovery in 2002 following the September 11, 2001, attack on New York's World Trade Center that showed a growing traveler confidence from December 2001 onwards, the island's visitor numbers have been more or less stagnant from the December 2002 and, in fact, worsened in April and May of 2003 due to the war in Iraq and the world-wide SARS panic.
Similarly, April's arrival figures totaled 58,900 - down 43.9% from the same month a year earlier.
Some Optimism That June Figures Will Be Better
While official arrival statistics are not yet available for June 2003, the perception generally shared in the local tourism industry is that business has finally begun to rebuild as the World Health Organization sounded the "all clear" in the SARS crisis. Large hotels in the island's south have begun reporting occupancies above the 50% mark with reservations staffs noting an increased tempo of new bookings coming onto their books.
The chart and total arrival statistics available at balidiscovery.com tracking arrivals between September and May over the past four years, show the impact of both 9-11 and the Bali bombings and the rate-of-recovery in tourism arrivals following each of those events.
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