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Bali: A March with a Different Drummer

Bali By the Numbers: Bali arrival Numbers up 3.8% for March 2011. Weakening Departures ex Key European Markets Cause Concern.

(5/9/2011) March 2011 foreign tourist arrival figures for Bali are now in hand showing that total foreign arrivals for that month equaled 201,833 – an increase of 3.8% over the same month in 2010.

On a cumulative basis Q1 2011 foreign arrivals to Bali totaled 605,813 - an increase of 9.91% over Q1 2010.

Were Bali able to sustain the current 9.91% rate of arrival growth through the end of 2011 it would end the year with a record  2.7 million foreign tourist visitors. Realistically, however, the softening in March arrivals, weaknesses in key European markets and the yet-to-be-measured downturn resulting from Japan's tsunami all argue for a year in which the robust growth to which Bali has become accustomed to diminish as the year progresses.

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Bali Arrivals by Major Source Markets

· Australia continues to amaze, hogging a massive 25.74% market share of all foreign arrivals, while its nearest rival of Japan has a market share of only 8.77%. March arrivals from Australia hit 51,930 – increasing 18.16% as compared to March 2010 (43,949). Year-on-year Q1 performance for Australian visitors increased 27.95% totaling 155,943.

· Japan numbers continued their decline achieving only 17,288 visitors to Bali in March 2011, down 23.8% when compared to March 2010 (22,713). How much of this decline can be attributed to travel downturns following the March 11th tsunami remains unclear as the Japanese travel market to Bali was already in steep decline prior to that natural disaster. On a year-on-year basis for Q1 2011 traffic from Japan to Bali is down 19.87%. Figures for the month of April (still unavailable) will better determine what effects the earthquake is going to have on medium term travel flows ex-Japan. Reduced flight capacities ex Japan suggest the drop in Japanese visitors will likely be significant.

· People's Republic of China arrival grew 9.3% in March 2011 (12,253). Total PRC arrivals for Q1 2011 declined slightly by 2.63%.

· Malaysia arrivals to Bali for March 2011 jumped a dramatic 16.8% to 16,001. Underlining this strength, cumulative Q1 arrivals to Bali from Malaysia are up 37.62% (40,212).

· Taiwan may be in trouble as regards their future contribution to Bali tourism. March arrivals ex Taiwan totaled 9,260 – a decline of 12.94 as compared to March 2010. Q1 2011 results from Taiwan are equally gloomy – down 17.49% (28,560) in comparison to Q1 2010 (34,613).

· South Korean is the 6th largest source of Bali foreign visitors but there are indications that this market  may be losing ground. South Korean visitors dropped a shocking 25.17% in March at 7,782 down from 10,399 South Korean visitors in March 2010 (10,399).  Year-on-year for Q1 2010 South Korean traffic is down 2.79%

· Russia - remains buoyant for Bali tourism. Now the 7th largest source of foreign visitors,  7,388 Russian tourists came to Bali in March 2011, an increase of 24.71%. Year-on-year Russian arrivals for Q1 2011 increased 24.04% (26,597).

· United Kingdom - arrivals dropped 1.23% in March 2011 as compared to the same month a year before. Cumulatively speaking, the U.K. performed somewhat better, increasing 3.06% in Q1 (21,755).

· U.S.A. - while European arrivals are is something of the doldrums, U.S. arrivals month-on-month are up a sizeable 25.98% (8.016), mirroring, to some degree, the Q1 performance for all U.S. citizens to Bali which increased 20.25% in 2011.

· France - at the 9th ranking among foreign arrivals – produced 6,878 foreign visitors in March 2011 - an increase of 19.92% Much of this growth was due to a sudden surge in March traffic with Q1 results showing a more modest 0.39% growth rate over Q1 2010.

· The Netherlands, with arrival numbers that soared in most of 2010, is now in 11th place among source countries for Bali tourism. March month-on-month arrivals ex the Netherlands dropped 35.19%(4,645). On a cumulative basis for January – March, business from Holland to Bali is down 18.84% (14,280).

German arrivals to Bali are also worrisome. Month-on-month, German tourists were 8.76% less than for March 2010. On a cumulative basis for Q1  2011, Germany arrivals are down 6.72% (14,280).

Geographical Output

There was across the board improvement in arrivals from all geographic areas. The strongest year-on-year growth occurred in ASEAN (up 40.59%); followed by the Americas (Up. 23.73%) and the Asia-Pacific up 6.96%. European arrivals have increase by only 2.23%