Indonesia looks to China to help boost slumping tourism in wake of Bali volcano eruptions: official

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-18 21:55:58|Editor: Zhou Xin
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JAKARTA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia is doing its utmost to recover the falling numbers of Chinese tourists visiting Bali since the multiple eruptions last November of Mount Agung, a volcano on the popular island.

Tourist companies were relying on rising numbers of visitors to Indonesia to help hit overall foreign visitor targets of 17 million and 20 million set for this year and next, respectively, according to industry statistics.

But tourist bureaus have been struggling to convince tourists about their safety and security during their time spent in Bali, owing to continued seismic activity in the region.

The picturesque resort island, which was selected as the world's best tourist destination by TripAdvisor in 2017, has contributed around 40 percent to the nation's overall foreign tourist arrivals for years, followed by the capital city of Jakarta at 30 percent and Indonesia's western region that accounts for 20 percent.

The brief closure of Bali airport following the multiple eruptions in late November last year and the subsequent high alert status over possible further eruptions have hammered Bali's tourism industry.

The volcanic events prompted governments of major tourist supplying countries to Indonesia to issue travel warning for their nationals traveling to Bali.

In response, Indonesia's tourism ministry took immediate steps to try and recover international confidence in the country and tried to redress Bali's significant slump in visitors, as the numbers have been indispensable to the government's tourism targets.

"Visitors from China are extremely important for the tourism industry in Bali. We want to see them coming back to Bali again as soon as possible," Vincensius Jemadu, Deputy Assistant for Asia Pacific Market Development at Indonesia's Ministry of Tourism, told Xinhua in an inclusive interview in Bali recently.

According to data released by Indonesia's Central Agency on Statistics, Bali received 1.43 million Chinese tourists in the first 11 months of 2017, which accounted for around 25 percent of the total number of foreign tourists visiting Bali throughout the period.

The government here has yet to announce the official data on the number of foreign tourist arrivals in Bali for December 2017.

According to Jemadu, the multiple eruptions dealt a massive blow to the numbers of foreign tourist arrivals in Bali.

Intensive promotions and tour package sales programs have since been formulated by the ministry with part of the programs to be held in several Chinese cities this month.

The programs are a continuation of efforts implemented last year in 20 Chinese cities whose residents might be tempted to visit Indonesia.

The current programs are mainly focused on recovering the confidence of Chinese tourists in the safety aspects of Bali related to the volcanic events and trying to boost package sales.

Jemadu said that Indonesia relies heavily on China as the tourism industry is a mainstay of the nation's overall economy.