Tens of thousands of Australia's most discriminating travelers have voted Bali as Australia's number one overseas island holiday destination.
Their verdict was announced in the inaugural Gold Awards list of Luxury Travel Magazine, compiled from the independent responses of American Express Gold card members and Luxury Travel readers.
The overwhelming endorsement of the popularity of Bali with its leading resorts and spas also scoring top awards follows new statistics showing that the number of Australians traveling to Bali rose 107 per cent in the year to October. Indonesia's national airline, Garuda Indonesia, says if current trends continue, the total will eclipse the all-time record of 280,000 Australians visiting Bali, set in 1998.
"This latest result from Luxury Travel magazine is a huge endorsement of the quality and value to be found in Bali. It clearly demonstrates that Bali's attractions encompass not only excellent budget and family holidays, but also some of the best luxury facilities and resorts in the world," said Mr Iriansyah Antemas, General Manager for Garuda Indonesia for New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory in Australia.
Luxury Travel's 5th Anniversary edition, distributed in December 2004, presents the results covering 22 separate categories, including best hotels and best spas.
Four Season Resort at Jimbaran Bay, Bali achieved recognition as Luxury Travels Best Overseas Resort, joined by Ritz-Carlton Resort & Spa, Bali in the top 10 and three more Bali resorts in the top 20.
Bali also featured strongly in the Best Overseas Spa Resort, with six resorts in the top 20 including Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay polling third, Ritz-Carlton Resort & Spa, Bali, at 6, Le Meridien Nirwana Golf & Spa, Sheraton Laguna Nusa Dua, Amandari and Pita Maha Resort & Spa at 11, 12 16 and 20 respectively.
Luxury Travel's survey of travel-savvy respondents selected Bali as Best Overseas Island ahead of Fiji, Hawaii, Tahiti, the Maldives, Santorini, Phuket, Koh Samui and Langkawi.
Bali's top placing in the Australian awards followed its similarly comprehensive approval from the world's largest travel magazine, Travel and Leisure magazine, which in its 2004, survey voted Bali the World's Best Island destination for the third year in a row.
Garuda Best Business Class
Garuda Indonesia which itself featured in Luxury Travel's list of Best Business Class Travel has put on extra flights to accommodate growing demand. It increased flights from Perth by nearly 50 per cent this year and now operates a total of 24 flights a week from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin and Perth, in addition to the twice weekly service from Auckland, New Zealand.
"The Australian dollar is currently worth four times what it was twenty years ago in Bali. With bargains abounding in airfare and accommodation packages, there's probably never been a better time to enjoy the Island of the Gods and perhaps indulge in a little luxury," said Mr Iriansyah.
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