UP TO THE MINUTE Bali Tourism Update
Bali's international tourism arrivals slowed down in 2012 with year on year growth versus 2011 coming in at 4.91% according to data on Balidiscovery.com. Overseas arrivals were over 2.8 million.
Comparing the trend to Phuket, which registered a surge of 16% for the year with over 2.5 million arrivals.
What's interesting is that between 2004 to 2012 Phuket averaged 9% growth per annum, while Bali for the period 2008 to 2012 came in at a similar percentage.
Key international growth markets for Bali are China and ASEAN, though the significant market of Australia showed signs of flattening in 2012 down to 4.15%, after a whopping 2011 with 22%.
The key difference between the two islands remains Phuket's marked rise of Eastern European visitors and the large amount of charter airline traffic.
Last week I was in Bali for the 1st Indonesia Hotel Investment Conference which was put together by the BHA (Bali Hotels Association) and Jack Daniels. Over 100 participants were these for the one day event and it was insightful to hear hoteliers voice out their concerns over infrastructure concerns, lack of zoning restrictions and a pending oversupply of hotel rooms. Sound familiar?
As for other island news – two new Kuta hotels are helping to change the landscape with the Sheraton and The Stones (this is affiliated to Marriott's Autograph Collection. The former is part of the massive Beachwalk development featuring tourist retails and restaurants. Locals are buzzing over the cinema which offers a premium theatre.
Another new entry is the Le Meriden in Jimbaran which is an extremely chic property and will be a surprise to many. Art and design are matched into a well designed product. Nearby at the Four Seasons the old PJ's has been dismantled and a new multimillion dollar restaurant and beach club named Sundara is open. This place reeks of luxury and certainly worthy of a sunset drink.
In Seminyak the new Alila is coming up fast next to Potato Head, while over in Sanur the Regent will be debuting in the first part of the year.
As for the island's infrastructure, the new airport terminal is going fast and furious, as is the mangrove tollroad to Nusa Dua and Benoa along with the Galleria underpass. The upcoming APEC 2013 Conference is imposing a serious deadline for the project's completion dates.