Published on : Monday, January 13, 2014
Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, head of the Bali Tourism office, told Bali Daily on Friday that a series of political activities, from campaigning to the election sessions, were expected to run quite smoothly.
The global tourist industry has sustainable growth of around four per cent annually. “People come to Bali to enjoy the beauty of its nature and its rich culture. We [Balinese people] have to maintain and preserve our precious tourist and cultural assets,” he said.
Sugeng Supriyanto, a member of the Association of Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA), also said that vacationing had become a necessity for both domestic and international visitors.
“They do not pay very much attention to political situations in their destination country. Some countries had even issue travel warnings against visiting Bali, but their citizens still continue their vacations on the island.”
“Security is the most important part of tourism. Any upheavals will affect the island’s image as an international tourist destination,” Subhiksu said.
Subhiksu expressed optimism that the tourist industry would grow positively throughout 2014.
“Economic growth in Asia and the Pacific region is predicted to improve significantly this year.
As will Europe and other regions including countries in the Middle East,” he added.
“The majority of people from our major markets have never related political conditions in Indonesia to their holiday agenda,” he said.
Bali’s provincial administration has set a target of attracting 3.5 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2014, which is a 10 per cent increase from the 2013 target of 3.18 million.
In the period between January and November 2013, 2,979,517 foreigners holidayed in Bali, which was a 13.55 percent rise from the same period last year.
It was estimated that 300,000 foreign visitors arrived in Bali in December. Therefore, the total number of foreign tourists was estimated to reach 3.2 million, above the 3.18 million target.
In 2009, Bali set a low target of attracting no more than 1.9 million foreign tourist arrivals because of elections. But, by the end of 2009, Bali had welcomed 2.22 million.
“At that time [in 2009], we did not have the courage to set a high target. Security issues in relation to the election sessions were our utmost concern,” said Subhiksu. He said that domestic tourist arrivals in 2009 also rose 21.37 per cent to 3.52 million, despite the elections.