Bali to focus tourism promotion outside Chinese market as fears over economic impact mount amid coronavirus outbreak
For the past couple of years, Chinese holidaymakers have topped the number of foreign travelers visiting the Island of the Gods. Amid fears following the deadly outbreak of a novel coronavirus from the Chinese city of Wuhan, officials in Bali are now bracing for the impact on the tourism industry.
“I heard there are about seven to nine thousand guests from China who canceled [their trip to Bali],” Putu Astawa, head of Bali Tourism Agency, told Kumparan yesterday.
Astawa also expressed concerns over the economic impact the virus outbreak will have on the island.
In an analysis written on Jan. 28, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) wrote that economic impacts from the outbreak will extend beyond China’s borders, with travel and tourism-related sectors the most immediately vulnerable.
In the case of Bali, which economy is largely dominated by tourism, this seems very likely: Chinese tourists were the second-largest group of foreign travelers passing through Ngurah Rai International Airport in 2019, with nearly 1.2 million visitors.
The Bali provincial government announced earlier this week that the Bali Kintamani Festival, initially planned for Feb. 8, has been postponed until the situation with the coronavirus improves.
The festival, which celebrates the marriage of an ancient king of Bali to a Chinese princess, attracted thousands of Chinese tourists last year.
For the time being, the agency plans on focusing promotion on other potential markets outside of China, including Europe and the United States.
“The most potential market for Bali visitors is Europe, there’s a lot of them. Then there are Australia, India, we will continue to promote. We hope that [the situation] improves soon,” Astawa said.