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A Steadily Improving Patient

Bali by the Numbers: January Through August Arrival Figures Show Regional Travel is Booming While Long Haul Continues to Lag.

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Foreign direct arrivals via Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are encouraging, showing a 55.85% improvement in the January-August 2004 period over the same period just one year earlier. The 951,927 foreign visitors who visited the Island in the first two-thirds of 2004, however, still lag slightly behind overall arrival performances registered in 2001 and 2002.

Asia-Pacific: Savior and Star Performer

Asia-Pacific arrivals are up 75.73% year-to-date, setting new arrival records for visitors from the region. Leading the pack are the Japanese with 204,685 visitors – numbers still down approximately 5% from 2001 and 2002 arrival figures ex Japan. Meanwhile, Australian travelers are back in droves aided by ever increasing new flights added by airlines trying to keep apace of burgeoning demand. January-August arrivals of 175.374 represent all time highs for Australian visitors, surpassing even the "next-strongest" performance of 166,052 set for the same period in 2001. The Taiwanese are also back performing at near to full strength, totaling 132,071 in the first two thirds of the year.

ASEAN – It's About Air Capacity

Give them seats on airplanes and low fares and they shall come!

Arrivals from ASEAN countries are breaking new ground at 76,866 in the January-August period. Massively ahead of any figures recorded in the past, the ASEAN invasion is being lead by Malaysia who recorded 33,510 arrivals in the period – a near 200% improvement from arrivals in 2001 and 2002.

The Americas – Oh, Say Can You See?

Visitors from the Americas, while improving 40.58% over the January – August 2003 totals at 49,019 visitors, are still 14-35% behind the totals recorded in 2001 and 2002.

Europeans: Still Missing from the Picture

European arrivals are experiencing a long, hard slog in the fight to return to former days of glory. Although improving 27.18% over 2003 for the first 8 months of 2004, the European market still lags around 30% behind performances turned in 2001 and 2002.

The long-staying, high-spending U.K., Dutch and German markets still remain badly depressed in terms of Bali tourist arrivals.

An Increasingly Under-Diversified Market Mix?

The fact that arrivals from three main source markets to Bali – Japan, Australia and Taiwan – now account for nearly 54% of all arrivals should give Bali's travel planners reason to pause. Is the Bali market mix becoming under-diversified and setting itself up for another massive shock should any one of these source markets suddenly collapse?

Moreover, toss in arrivals from just two more source markets – Malaysia and Singapore – and the lack of source-diversity becomes even more acute with 5 countries accounting for more than 60% of all foreign tourist arrivals.

At some point, Bali may discover its substantial success limited to so few markets may some day end up holding the island's tourism fortunes ransom.

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