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(11/22/2008) Bali's foreign tourist arrival numbers through the end of October have yet to show any ill effects from a much-feared coming drop in tourist arrivals precipitated by a growing global economic crisis. We're sure it's out there. We're certain it's coming. We're just not sure when.
Total foreign tourist arrivals to Bali for October 2008 hit 180,944 - an increase of 23.81% from October 2007 (146,150).
2 Million Tourists for 2008 – It's Going to be Close
Cumulative arrivals through the end of October remain strong at 1,660,023. Those numbers are 20.65% ahead of totals for January-October 2007 (1,375,882).
Will Bali manage to break through the psychological barrier of 2 million foreign tourists in 2008? With Bali only 5,000 visitors behind the "best year ever" for Bali tourism (2007) by the end of October, there's no doubt that we've already set a new record level of arrivals. What is less certain, however, is whether Bali will manage to break through the 2 million mark.
Assuming that Bali will ignore the worrying signs on the horizon and maintain its current 20.65% rate of growth, total arrivals will finish the year at only 8,646 visitor above the 2 million mark (2,008,646). Thus, even the slightest loss in momentum during the last two months of 2008 could see Bali end up close, but still fail to win the cigar in its efforts to welcome 2 million foreign tourists.
Shown on balidiscovery.com are comparative cumulative arrivals for the period January – October 2000 through 2008.
Arrivals January - October 2000-2008
click image to enlarge
Here are the highlight of arrival performance from some of Bali's major markets:
● Japan - Far and away still Bali's strongest inbound market, Japanese visitors at 309,788 for January-October 2008 are 3.45% ahead of totals for the same period one year ago (299,444). Japan is now officially in recession and with outbound travel on the wane, prompting realistic observers to look for a downturn in Japanese visitors to Bali in the coming months and throughout 2009.
● Australia - The execution of the Bali bombers and heightened travel warnings from the Australian government appear to be having little or no negative impact on the desire of Australians to visit Bali. Operating in record territory, cumulative Australian visitors January-October 2008 equal 262,765. That number is 59.69% ahead of the same period in 2007 (164,544). For the short term, a number of new flights scheduled to be introduced by Pacific Blue and Garuda over the coming months should sustain strong growth in Australian visitors to Bali. Further down the road, however, look for potentially negative sentiment from Australians in 2009 if, as expected, Indonesia moves ahead with plans to execute 3 young Australian drug smugglers now sitting on death row in Bali's main prison.
● Taiwan - Taiwanese tourists totaled 113,487 for the first ten months of 2008. These numbers are down 8.37% from the performance recorded for the same period just one year ago (123,848). A difficult Taiwanese economy and the easing of travel restrictions for travel to mainland China could mean visitors ex-Taiwan to Bali may remain sluggish, at best.
● South Korea - The increasingly troubled South Korean economy managed to generate 111,067 tourist for Bali through the end of October 2008. This is 3.38% ahead of the numbers for the same period in 2007 (107,435).
● People's Republic of China - China remains a star performer for Bali. January-October 2008 arrivals hit 105,356, that's a 51.79% improvement over the same period in 2007 (69,410).
● Malaysia - Malaysian arrivals for the first 10 months of 2008 are 24.30% ahead of 2007 at 100,328.
● Germany - Through the end of October there were 21.70% more Germans coming to Bali than was the case in 2007. German arrivals January-October hit 70,664. Now in recession with the rest of Europe, German visitors are likely to become stagnant or decline in 2009.
● United Kingdom - U.K. visitors also increased 19.36% for the period January-October 2008 totaling 69,923. Like the rest of Europe, the economic news out of London is not good.
● France French visitors have increased 23.99% over the first ten months of 2008 hitting 64,827. France is the only country in Europe to remain "officially" not in recession, but is widely expected to join the recession "club" in the coming few months.
● U.S.A. - Despite the worse U.S. economy in decades, visitors ex the U.S.A. are still 23.38% ahead of 2007 for the first ten months of 2008 (58,039). Lower travel warnings have, at least for the moment, offset any economic woes.