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February, Quite Contrary

Bali by the Numbers: February Arrival Figures Suggest that Bali's Recovery May be In the Doldrums.

(3/12/2006) Total Direct foreign arrivals to Bali for February 2006 hit 73,430 – a figure down -27.03% from the total visitors in February just one year before (100,638). The latest figures failed to demonstrate forward movement on the slow struggle back to recovery for Bali's tourism industry, turning in a somewhat worse performance than January 2006 when bookings were down -21.78% month-on-month with one year before. Mitigating partially what could appear to February's setback is the fact that January’s arrivals were bolstered in part by Chinese New Year visitors. Tourism observers will be closely watching March arrival figures to see what clue, if any, they provide to the length and severity of the current business drought.



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August-February Arrivals: A Five Year Perspective

As shown on balidiscovery.com, the pattern of pick-up following the latest Bali bombing (October 2005) largely mirrors patterns following the October 2002 terrorist attacks. While overall trends for August-February continue to lag substantially behind the record arrivals last year, February arrivals are still 8.83% ahead of February 2003 arrivals, a month also affected by post-bomb trauma.

Performance from Bali's Top Four Overseas Markets

Despite the current downturn in business, Bali's four main markets remain the same - namely, Japan, Australia, Taiwan and South Korea. Nonetheless, the downturn in business from these top producing countries has been profound, shifting from the former cumulative 57% market share to a 49.65% market share for February 2006.



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Japan - Bali's largest inbound market of Japan is showing no signs of recovery, with the only 15,353 Japanese visitors in February representing one the worst February's in recent memory for that market. Economic uncertainty at home, lingering security concerns and Japanese trepidation over bird flu are all combining to stall a comeback in Japanese visitors.



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Australia - Waiting for marketing initiatives aimed at reviving the Australian market to have effect, the Australians continued to stay away in droves in February, down -64.48% from the same month just one year before. The performance from the Australian marketplace is apace with February of 3 years ago when business was down 65% following the 2002 bombing incident.

The struggle back to healthy Australian arrival numbers will likely be more arduous this time round, unaided by the Air Paradise which commenced service in February 2002.



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Taiwan - One ray of modest optimism is provided by the Taiwanese market which is demonstrating strong resilience this time round. While February arrivals (9,793) were down -6.10% from one year before, this is a markedly better performance than February 2003 when Taiwanese arrivals lagged -23.14% following the first Bali bombing the previous October.



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South Korea - Perhaps mirroring Japanese fears over Avian influenza, South Korean arrivals for February totaled 5,463 - a figure down -36.65% from one year before and substantially worse that post-first-bomb February 2003 which was down only -23.17% from the previous year.

All Eyes on March

All eyes now shift to the arrival figures for March 2006 to see what indication they will provide on the future fortunes of Bali tourism.

Direct Arrival Per Region until Feb. 06