The Jakarta Post
Garuda Indonesia opened two new routes to China on Tuesday in an effort to tap into the country’s burgeoning tourist market, which in 2017 sent more than 130 million tourists across the globe.
The first route connects Xi’an—a historic city famous for Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Terracotta Army sculptures—to Denpasar with direct flights twice a week. The second route connects Zhengzhou—a major transportation hub for Central China—to Denpasar three times a week.
Both routes are served by the national flag carrier’s Airbus A330-300, which has a 360-seat capacity.
The inaugural Xi’an-Denpasar direct flight landed at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport Tuesday morning and its passengers were treated to a special welcoming ceremony, featuring a traditional Balinese dance, a presentation of garlands, complimentary souvenirs and photo-ops with the airline’s senior officials and local figures.
Garuda Indonesia cargo director Sigit Muhartono, who flew from Xi’an in the inaugural flight, expressed optimism over the new routes.
“Of the 360 available seats, 346 were filled in. China is a very promising market and we are currently considering opening routes to Kunming and Zhenjiang,” he said.
Tourism Ministry expert staff member for infrastructure Judi Rifajantoro praised the airline’s decision to open two new routes, saying it would help the island to recover from a decrease in tourism as a result of volcanic activity at Mount Agung.
“It will also assist us in bringing in more Chinese tourists. Last year, out of 130 outbound Chinese tourists, Indonesia only received 2.4 million.” (bbn)