4 lakh Indian tourists visited Bali in 2023; direct flight from Bombay on cards, ET TravelWorld

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<p>Representative Image</p>
Representative Image

Last year, without direct flights, Bali welcomed over 400,000 Indian tourists. This staggering figure underscores the immense potential for growth once direct flight routes are established, stated Ina H. Krisnamurthi, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in India.

“Thanks to initiatives like IndiGo’s direct connection to Jakarta and Vistara‘s efforts in establishing direct links from Delhi, we are now in a better position to encourage travel to Bali. The availability of these direct flights presents an opportunity to significantly enhance tourist inflow between our nations, as evidenced by last year’s influx of over 400,000 Indian visitors to Bali, a figure we anticipate will grow,” the ambassador said.

In terms of overall tourist numbers, Indonesia welcomed a staggering 11.67 million visitors in 2023, almost double the number in 2022. Bali alone received 5.23 million visitors, accounting for nearly half of Indonesia’s total tourism arrivals.

The ambassador further urged the Indian stakeholders to seize the opportunity presented by improved connectivity. She highlighted that despite the Indian populace expressing keen interest in Bali, their actual visitation numbers remain relatively low, primarily due to the absence of direct flights.

“While traffic from India may exhibit seasonal trends or focus on wedding-related travel, we must strategise on maintaining consistent demand and exploring new avenues for engagement,” she said.

Vistara Bombay-Bali to be a reality soon

Payal Mehta, Regional Manager Sales -North India at Vistara – TATA SIA Airlines Ltd. informed that the airline is also exploring options for flights from Bombay. “Vistara currently operates daily direct flights from Delhi, which is performing satisfactorily. Nevertheless, with the continued support and contributions from everyone involved, our flight operations are progressing well. Our next step involves introducing Boeing LR series aircraft to Bali, offering approximately 300 seats per departure. Plans for flights from Bombay are indeed on cards, pending bilateral approvals and support. Rest assured, we are actively working towards these goals and anticipate positive outcomes in the near future,” she told ETTravelWorld. “If all goes according to plan for strengthening our Delhi departures, we may introduce wide-body aircraft from Delhi in the future. Merger is on the cards with Air India and we are still assessing on how it opens or works out,” she added.

Direct flights, improved visa process-India’s path to top 3 in South Africa Tourism: Neliswa

Mumbai remains a consistent frontrunner as the primary source city for South African Tourism in India. Reflecting this trend, inbound tourism from Mumbai saw a substantial 37 per cent year-on-year growth in 2023, contributing to the overall surge in leisure and business travel. Overall, for India, there has been a 43 per cent increase from previous year. Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – Middle East, India, and South East Asia, South African Tourism shares more.

$10 tourist fee an investment in environmental conservation, not a deterrent

To conserve the cultural richness of Bali and to avoid the repercussions of overtourism, the Indonesian government had recently introduced a USD 10 levy on foreign tourists upon their arrival. This measure exempts domestic travellers, diplomatic visa holders, and citizens of ASEAN countries from the tourism levy.

“We all admire Bali, which is a sought-after destination for Indians. Indonesia, as a nation, is known for its warm hospitality and excellent services. However, tourism also brings about certain challenges, such as environmental damage and waste generation. Therefore, it’s crucial to address these issues by focusing on waste reduction at the source. Given that 80 per cent of Bali’s economy relies on tourism, it’s paramount to safeguard it,” said Sanjay Sondhi, Country Manager, Visit Indonesia Tourism Office India.

Acknowledging that the recent implementation of a tourist fee is a must to preserve the local culture and protect the environment, Sondhi said that it’s essential for the local community to feel involved and not suffer from the negative impacts of tourism.

“Bali boasts ancient irrigation systems, UNESCO heritage sites and picturesque paddy fields, offering unique experiences beyond urban areas. It also stands out for its cultural diversity, with over 20,000 temples and a rich Hindu heritage. Tourism specialists in India can tailor itineraries to showcase these authentic experiences and promote a harmonious coexistence with nature,” he suggested.

“The USD 10 fee should be viewed as an investment in environmental conservation rather than a deterrent, following the example set by other nations like Bhutan, where a USD 100 fee is imposed per person. As stakeholders from India, we should support these efforts to ensure sustainable tourism practices and protect Bali’s natural assets,” Sondhi expressed.

75 years of bilateral relations to foster tourism

Notably, Indonesia is also completing its 75 years of bilateral relations with India. Symbolising the enduring bond between the two nations, the ambassador referenced the shared values and historical ties represented by the special logo, adorned with colours reminiscent of both the Indian and Indonesian flags.

She said that a series of celebrations, showcasing Indonesia’s commitment to deepening cultural and economic exchanges with India have been planned this year. This includes cultural and dance performances, festivals, and sales missions across major Indian cities.

Echoing the sentiments through a popular quote- Bali is more than a place. It’s a mood; it’s magical. It’s a tropical state of mind, the ambassador remarked, “As a representative of the government, I am encouraged by the growing closeness between Indonesia and India, which is reflected not only in our symbolic gestures in the logo but also in tangible collaborations post-COVID-19,” she concluded.

  • Published On Feb 29, 2024 at 01:46 PM IST

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