JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Indonesia’s tourism industry is optimistic about business prospects around Chinese New Year, despite the lingering impact of volcanic activity from Mount Agung in Bali.
The eruption had led the Chinese government to issue a travel warning, initially to warn Chinese tourists about the possibility of getting stranded on the island following the temporary closure of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport. The travel warning, however, was lifted in December.
Association of Air Ticketing Companies in Indonesia vice chairman Rudiana said the number of booked tour packages had increased up to 15 per cent this year from Chinese New Year last year. “But (tourists) seem hesitant () They booked but then if they are asked to place a deposit, they aren’t willing to do so,” he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday (Jan 16).
In November last year, for example, Ngurah Rai airport was forced to halt operations for nearly three days due to the eruption.
He also said a government program through which it endowed a subsidy of Rp 100 billion (S$9.9 million) for tour packages in the first three months of the year to expedite Bali tourism recovery, was ongoing, although results had been lackluster.
“We are also trying to promote other places, such as Medan and its Toba (lake in North Sumatra). We hope there is still an increase there,” he said.
The Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association’s Bali chapter head, Tjokorda Artha Ardana Sukawati, said he expected the number of Chinese tourists arrivals in Bali to at least stagnant at more than 4,000 tourists daily around Chinese New Year.