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(5/21/2011) The strengthening of the Indonesian Rupiah over the past three years is has made it one of Asia's best performing currencies.
A strengthening Rupiah make Indonesian exports more expensive, it will also have an impact on tourism which is, in the final analysis, Bali's number one export.
Because historically the Rupiah was "non-exportable" currency and at one time was subject to wild swings in value, hotels price themselves in United States Dollars.
Because of this specifically Indonesian situation, the movement of the Rupiah against the Greenback has a disproportionate impact on the island's tourism fortunes. As the Rupiah has strengthened 10.92% against the U.S. dollars from January 1, 2008 until May 20, 2011, the cost of a room in 2008 dollars has remained the same while the cost of other hotel services, normally priced in Indonesian Rupiah, have either resulted in either a savings or an additional costs, depending on the the currency earned by a foreign visitor.
Here's an overview of the international currency movement for a basket of currencies and what those changes have generally meant to the pocketbooks of island visitors.
US$ - Due to the U.S. dollar pricing for accommodation, Americans have found that over the three year period illustrated in the accompanying charts, their dollars have the same buying power as measured in 2008 dollars . Meanwhile, Americans are finding Rupiah-based meals, drinks and handicrafts now cost 10.92% more as the Indonesian currency appreciate against the dollar.
AU$ - Australian tourists are enjoying something of a bargain as their strengthening dollar now goes 18.04% further in paying for U.S.$ denominated hotels . On the other hand, restaurants dining in rupiahs now cost 9.15% less than was the case in January 2008.
Japanese ¥ - A strengthening of the Yen against the dollar is making Bali hotels 25.50% less expensive "Yen for dollar" than was the case three years ago. Enjoying a double boost, Japanese travelers pay 18.94% less for Rupiahs expenditures on dining and shopping.
Euro € - The Euro has remain relatively stable since January 2008, depreciating only 1.89% against the US$. The Euro has taken more of a beating against the Rupiah, meaning Rupiah priced items cost Euro earners 13.08% more than three years ago.
Malaysia Ringgit - A stronger Ringgit reduced the cost of hotels by 9.74% while remaining in almost lock step with the Rupiah (depreciating 0.26%).
Singapore $ - A stronger Singapore dollar has reduced dollar-based hotel costs by 14.27% when measured in 2008 U.S. dollars. A Rupiah-priced dinner in Bali now costs a Singaporean 4.87% less than it did in January 2008.
Great Britain £ - Double jeopardy brought on by a weakening pound: Compared to January 2008, a hotel room in Bali now costs 22.36% more for U.K. visitors, while a meal costs 35.75% more.
South Korean ₩ - A weakening Won has raised the price of a U.S. Dollar hotel in Bali by 13.76%. Meals paid in Rupiah now cost South Koreans 27.20% more than three years ago.
New Taiwan $ - A strengthening in the value of the New Taiwan $ against the US$ means hotels are 11.28% cheaper for the Taiwanese traveler to Bali. Rupiah purchases for meals and alike are now 1.61% less expensive than was the case in January 2008.
Hong Kong $ - Hong Kong dollar earners have seen their currency remain fairly steady in the three years since January 2008, appreciating only 0.34%. When Hong Kong visitors need to pay for anything in Rupiahs they are paying 10.56% more than they did three years before.
New Zealand $ - The New Zealand dollar has appreciated by 3.27% against the U.S. Dollar lowering the cost of room by a corresponding amount. A Rupiah priced dinner now costs a Kiwi 7.28% more than 3 year ago.
Russian Rubles - A weakening Ruble means hotel rooms now cost Russians 14% more in Bali than it did in January 2008. Russians are also paying 26.47% more for items purchased on Rupiahs.
South African Rand - The South African currency as depreciated only 1.07% over the past 3 years making hotel rooms, before any price increases, costing roughly the same for Rand earners. Against the Rupiah the Rand has depreciated a more significant 12.21%.
Chinese RMB - A strong Rimimbi means rooms are costing Mainland Chinese travelers 11.10% less than they did in 2008 as measured in 2008 U.S. dollars. With the RMB appreciating against the Rupiah, Maninland Chinese travelers are paying 1.39% less for a local meal in Bali.
Impact on Bali Tourist Operations
The strengthening Rupiah against the U.S. dollar will put a strain on the bottom line of many Bali Hotels. While hotels earn room revenues in U.S. dollars, those dollars now purchase a lesser quantity of Indonesian Rupiahs needed to pay major budget line items such a salaries and energy costs.