An influx of travelers from China is to be expected soon in Bali as the island’s top tourism official said that at least four airlines have applied for direct flights to the Island of Gods.
Tjokorda Bagus Pemayun, the head of Bali Province’s Tourism Agency, told news agency Antara that four Chinese airlines, along with nine other international airlines, have requested for the establishment of direct flights to Ngurah Rai International Airport.
“Before [the] COVID-19 [pandemic], there were 15 cities in China with direct flights [to Bali],” Tjokorda said earlier today in Denpasar.
On Jan. 22, a chartered flight from Shenzhen carrying 210 tourists arrived in Bali for the Lunar New Year holiday. Another chartered flight, according to the official, is expected to arrive on Feb. 6.
Tourism officials are hoping that a travel boom from China can boost Bali’s international arrivals statistics, particularly as Governor Wayan Koster has set a target for 4.5 million international holidaymakers on the island this year.
Ngurah Rai Airport General Manager Handy Heryudhitiawan confirmed separately that 13 airlines requesting direct flights to Bali include four from China, as well as others from Russia, Japan, India, and the US.
“They need to apply again in order to get flights approved,” Handy said.
In the past three years, Chinese travelers mostly arrived in Bali via Jakarta and Singapore.
Numbers wise, Chinese travelers were amongst the highest by volume on the island prior to the pandemic. In 2019, out of 6,275,210 recorded arrivals, 1,186,057 or almost 20 percent came from China.
Indonesia has not imposed a travel ban on Chinese travelers despite soaring COVID-19 cases in China.