The Jakarta Post
Bali will likely welcome more Chinese tourists this year, thanks to a new direct flight by Hainan Airline starting mid-January.
In addition, the upcoming Chinese New Year will also cause a rise in Chinese visitors this month until early next month, as many will vacation on the island.
According to Indonesia's official tourism website, run by the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, Hainan Airline ' China's fourth largest airline ' will launch regular flights, three times a week, between Beijing and Bali on Jan. 15.
Using the Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with capacity for 223 passengers, the flight serving the Bali route will operate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The trip from Beijing to Bali will take around seven-and-a-half hours, the shortest time from northern China to Bali.
Bambang Sugiono, a member of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) focusing on serving Chinese tourists, said Monday that the flight would contribute significantly to Chinese tourist arrivals, which is already high at present.
Chinese tourists unable to get tickets for direct flights were willing to take indirect flights via Jakarta.
He estimated that the number of Chinese tourists flying to Bali could be as high as 1,000 per day.
In operating this new flight, Hainan Airline is partnering with Caissa Touristic (Group) AG, which will offer unique packages for Chinese tourists to enjoy the island's beauty, as well as its unique culture.
On the inaugural flight, Chinese mainstream media consisting of TV channels, radio stations, websites and newspapers, will be invited, staying in Bali for one week to explore various attractions on the island and in surrounding areas.
The flights are expected to generate 30,000 Chinese tourists. According to the National Statistics Bureau of China, each tourist is expected to spend on average US$3,000. Therefore, with this new flight, Chinese tourists will contribute around $90 million to Bali and other destinations in Indonesia.
During the period January to November last year, Bali welcomed 361,311 Chinese tourists, an increase of 9.68 percent from the 329,425 tourists during the same period in 2012, data from the Bali office of the Central Statistics Bureau (BPS) showed.
China ranked second after Australia for foreign tourist arrivals to the province.
Tourism businessman Bagus Sudibya welcomed the new direct flight, saying it indicated that Bali remained a very attractive market for China.
He said China continued to have potential for Bali's tourism, as many of the Chinese people visiting Bali had high spending and a length of stay of between five to seven days.
However, he regretted that many travel agents/tour operators sold tour packages to Bali at a very low price.
'Bali shouldn't be sold at a cheap price. The tour packages should have been offered at higher prices, so that the high arrival of Chinese tourists really provided a significant contribution for Bali,' he said.
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