BALI, Indonesia - Entering the low holiday season, Bali is experiencing a slight growth (3.
62 percent) in the number of foreign tourist arrivals, according to an official.
Last year, in September 2011, 2.05 million tourists had visited the island, but the figure had increased to 2.16 million during the same period this year.
Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, head of Bali's tourism office, said he was optimistic that Bali would be able to achieve its target of drawing 3 million foreign visitors by the end of 2012.
âDecember is expected to see a significant rise in foreign tourists who will spend Christmas and New Year Holidays on the island of Bali,â Subhiksu said.
Bali welcomed 2.75 million foreign guests and more than 4 million domestic visitors in 2011. âWe are hoping to attract at least 2.8 million foreign tourists,â added Subhiksu.
Subhiksu explained there were several determining factors that had affected the arrival of foreign tourists to Bali.
In the June-August period, thousands of travelers spent their summer and school holidays in Bali. The average hotel occupancy rates in Bali stood at a staggering 80 to 100 percent.
Bali has 90,000 hotel rooms as starred and non-starred accommodation, villas, apartments and condominium hotels (abbreviated as condotels).
âBut in the March and April period, the number of tourists was relatively low as it was low holiday season. Moreover, rumors of terrorist attacks also affected tourism,â Subhiksu said.
Bali tourism industry has been vulnerable to any news on economic, security and health issues including terrorism, rabies, the avian flu outbreak and other epidemics.
Up to August 2012, Australian tourists continued to come to Bali. In early October, thousands of Australians also came to Bali to observe the 10th anniversary of Bali Bombing tragedy on Oct. 12.
Australian holidaymakers contributed one-third of total foreign tourist arrivals to Bali between January and August 2012, new data revealed.
Data from the Bali Statistics Agency showed that the number of Australian visitors reached 627,793 people, or 33 percent of the total 1.9 million visitors in the period.
âThe number of Australian tourists visiting Bali increased by 25.23 percent in January-August 2012 as compared to the 501,326 visitors in the same period last year,â said I Gede Suarsa, head of the agency.
Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore are among prolific tourism markets for Bali.
The number of Chinese tourists was second largest after Australia with 219,851 visitors, followed by Japan with 134,192.
The number of tourists from France and other European countries, as well as the US, is also increasing. French tourists accounted for 87,633 people, an increase of 12.23 percent, up from 78,082 people in the same period last year.
The number of British visitors also rose 47 percent from 67,143 people in January-August 2011 to 95,392 people this year, while American visitors increased 31 percent from 56,429 to 73,979 visitors.