July 2003 arrival figures from Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport demonstrate that January-July direct foreign arrival numbers are still down 37.99% as compared to 2002, totaling only 495,236 for the first seven months of this year.
A Narrowing Gap
Those looking for signs of recovery in the latest figures will be buoyed by the fact that numbers continue to grow on a month-to-month basis and the performance gap is narrowing. July arrival figures lagged 23.94% behind arrivals for the same month a year ago, while June figures were down 34.36% and May was down a whopping 59.88%.
Tourist traffic from the entire Asia-Pacific region was down 29.49% for the first seven months of 2003. Although Japan and Australia continued to hold onto their top rankings for tourist arrivals, their totals were down January-July by 30.43% and 44.01%, respectively.
ASEAN Ė A Sole Bright Spot
ASEAN arrivals increased for the period, improving 28.67% with numbers, unfortunately, comprised of visitors with extremely short periods of stay on the island. Responding to special promotions launched by Singapore Airlines Malaysian arrivals increased 50.90% and Singapore arrivals by 63.70%.
Reflecting negative travel warnings, the America's produced arrivals that were down 39.89% for the period January-July 2003. U.S.A. arrivals were even worse, down 41.85%.
Sorely missed are Bali's European visitors who typically linger for up to 20 days. European arrivals are down 46.21% for the first seven months of 2003 lead by Italy (down 72.49%); U.K. (down 53.42%); and Germany (down 43.77%).
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