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Who Says Bali Tourism Has Recovered?

Head of Bali Recovery Program Takes Issue with Those Who Claim Things are Back to Normal in Bali Tourism.

(4/26/2004) The Chairman of the Working Committee for Bali Recovery I, I Gusti Kade Sutawa, was recently quoted by the Indonesian-language Bali Post as saying that he was "angered" by reports claiming Bali's tourism has recovered.

Speaking to the press on April 22, 2004, he said, "how can you claim recovery when, in fact, the tourism industry is still gasping for air? Occupancy rates of hotels in Candi Dasa are on the average below 15%. And don't forget, we've lost 40% of our European market."

Arrival Statistics Don't Tell the Whole Story

Sutawa went on to explain that the Government is misguided if they only refer to arrival statistics at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport in determining the fortunes of Bali's tourism. Using such information, according to him, only allows the Government to become self-satisfied and not increase their efforts to assist tourism. "In fact," said Sutawa, "we have done nothing to aid Bali's tourism recovery."

Sutawa explained that there a number of other factors that must be considered to determine the status of the Island's tourism industry. Chief among these are the multiplier effect and component industries that comprise the entire tourism activity of Bali. He explained that because non-starred hotels, travel agents, art shops, and transportation companies continue to suffer it is evident that tourism remains in the crisis mode.

Quality of Tourists Has Declined

Separately, the Vice-Chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association for Bali (PHRI), IGN Ray Suryawijaya, confirmed that the flow of European tourists to Bali has eroded by 40%. Explaining that European travelers have higher spending power and longer lengths of stay he said, "with apologies and with no desire to minimize the importance of Asian tourists, while the number of Asian tourists may be equal to European visitors, their economic impact on Bali is less."