ASEAN visitors now the number one tourism focus for Bali
By Thomas Steinmetz
Created Oct 10 2013 - 9:39pm
Nengah Aryana, head of the Bali Bagus division of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) Bali, said that tourists had been flowing onto the island from the ASEAN countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Bali's tourist industry is seriously focusing on penetrating emerging tourist markets in ASEAN, which have been growing significantly in the last few years.
"The increase in tourist arrivals from ASEAN countries is predicted to continue, despite tough tourism competition between the countries," Aryana said.
An active promotion will start in December with an initial road show to the Philippines and Malaysia.
"We will arrange continuing road shows to other ASEAN member countries—Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore, next year," added Aryana.
The promotional activities would be held in the form of tabletop meetings or business-to-business gatherings, he said.
"By holding tabletop meetings, every participant will learn more about its partner's business and portfolio," he said.
Bali Bagus is a new division at ASITA tasked with implementing joint promotions among travel agencies.
"As far as I know, promotion in ASEAN countries is usually done individually. Every travel agency makes its own way to penetrate the market, with limited results, of course," Aryana said.
With limited human and funding resources, market expansion would be less effective when carried out individually, Aryana stated.
The Bali Bagus Division is expecting to obtain support from the provincial and regional administrations, Bali Tourism Promotion Board (BPPD) and the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry.
Tjokorda Artha Ardana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace, chairman of BPPD, has frequently called on all parties in Bali's tourist industry to create an integrated promotional program.
"ASEAN countries have greatly contributed to the growth of Bali's tourism," Cok Ace said.
Some ASEAN countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, are grouped in Bali's ten most profitable tourist markets.
BPPD, he said, had agreed to focus on five tourism segments—MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), sports, leisure, silver (targeting elderly tourists) and creative tourism.
Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, head of Bali Tourism Agency, stated that tourist arrivals from ASEAN countries had already reached 219,137 persons in the January-July period, or 12.24 percent of the total 1,790,804 foreign tourist arrivals to Bali in that period.
Malaysia and Singapore had the highest number of tourists arriving in Bali from ASEAN countries, at 104,530 persons and 71,814 persons respectively.