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Still in the Doldrums

Bali by the Numbers: March Arrivals Down -28.63%


Preliminary foreign arrival figures from Bali's Airport indicate that Bali's revival, following the terrorist attack of 6 months ago, continues to lag totaling 83,608 foreign visitors, down -28.63% from the same month just one year before. Although deepening slightly from the month-to-month performance for February 2006 when arrivals (73,430) were down only -27.04%, the overall performance for Q1 2006 showed a more moderate average decline of -25.95% from the same quarter one year before.

Bali's four main source markets continue to under perform:

Japan - Bali's main source of visitors Japan generated 19,391 visitors in March 2006, down -23.7% from Japanese March arrivals in 2005 (25,437).

Australia - Bali's second largest producer of tourist visitors produced 8,511 visitors in March; that's a drop of -60.38% from the 21,483 visitors arriving from Australia in March 2005.

Taiwan - Taiwan – the 3rd largest source of visitors for Bali – sent 8,403 visitors to Bali in March 2006. Compared to March 2005, when 9,249 Taiwanese visitors came to the Island, this translates into a downturn of -9.15% from the same month last year.

South Korea - The 4th largest source of Bali-bound travelers continued to suffer in March producing only 4,258 visitors; down 39.89% from the 7,083 visitors from South Korea who came to Bali in March 2005.

A Tale of Two Bombs

While local pundits are eager to compare Bali's current business downturn with the aftereffects of the 2002 Bali bombing, several facts emerge:

• While March arrivals 2006 versus 2005 are down -28.63%, this is an improvement over the March 2003 performance following the first Bali bombing when business was down a more substantial -36.36%.

• While business is definitely down in the current period, there are more visitors on Bali this year than was the case in 2003 after the first bombing. Actual arrival numbers for Q1 2006 are, in fact, 15.7% ahead of Q1 2003.

• As shown on the accompany chart on, when tracking monthly arrivals for 2002/2003 versus 2005/2006, the recovery pattern from both bombings largely mirror each other with the current period operating at a somewhat higher level of arrivals.

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