China now 2nd-largest source
of isle tourists

Denpasar: Better relations between China and Indonesia, especially after the implementation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), is believed to have boosted number of Chinese tourists to Bali. The number of Chinese visiting Bali was 217,029 between January and November 2011, up 17 percent from the same period in 2010, leading China to displace Japan as the second-largest supplier of foreign tourists to Bali.

Australians still top the list of the isle’s foreign tourist arrivals.

Hartono, the coordinator of Bali Liang, an association of China-focused travel agencies, said on Thursday that the increase was supported by a rising number of foreign flights to Bali.

The increase could also be attributed to the launch of direct flight service between Bali and Jiangiao, China, he said.

“In addition to the impact of ACFTA, the rising number of Chinese tourist arrivals to Bali has also been caused by the opening of direct flights to Bali from a number of countries and also the opening of a direct flight from China, even though it is still limited,” he said.

Hartono expressed confidence that tourist arrivals from China would further increase, especially since Bali had been successful in holding large-scale international events, including the ASEAN Summit, where a number of heads of state, including China’s, attended.

At the beginning of the 2012, according to Hartono, there would also be a large number of tourists coming to Bali to celebrate Lunar New Year.

“Usually the flow of tourists from China takes place a week before and after the new year, as there will be holidays for several days. They will stay from four to five days with their family members or in groups,” he said.

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