Reeling in the aftermath of the October 12th terrorist attack on Legian-Kuta, foreign arrivals and hotel occupancy rates continue their dramatic downward spiral. As a result, local tourism obervers sit on the edge of their seats wondering when the downward spiral will bottom out - forming the benchmark for the slow climb back to recovery, leaving them asking: Is the worst over, or still to come?
According to figures released by the Governor's Command Post, overall occupancies on the island stood at an average 18% on October 26, down from a level just over 70% in the days just prior to the tragedy.
Some individual major properties on the island are said to be registering single digit occupancy figures, well below the estimate 20-40% occupancy levels needed to generate sufficient cash flows to sustain break-even operations.
Many hotels have responded by requiring staff to take all unused leave, to take "leave in advance," and reduce working days - all steps seen as preludes to the seemingly inevitable staff reductions if the crisis of confidence in Bali continues.
Equally foreboding are the foreign arrival numbers at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport. Daily foreign arrivals were averaging just over 5,000 passengers per day in the days prior to the attack. That number has continued to dwindle with only 798 people arriving through the airport on October 24, 2002.
Forward Bookings Weak
While cancellations of groups and individual passengers were of tidal intensity during the week following the blast, the fact that new bookings for holiday bookings to Bali have slowed to a trickle foreshadows a long and prolonged drought of visitors for the months ahead.
One industry expert has estimated losses to the meeting and conference sector alone in terms of cancelled bookings at a value exceeding US$ 10 million.
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