Foreign Visitors Rely on Internet to Know Bali

DENPASAR

Technology has facilitated most foreign tourists who visit Bali as they find information about the tourism destination from the Internet.

A 2012 survey on the behavior of foreign tourists organized by Bank Indonesia’s Bali and Nusa Tenggara office revealed that 41.72 percent of foreign visitors learned about the Island of the Gods from the Internet.

Other sources of information came in the form of friends and relatives who had visited Bali (20.47 percent), tourism books (18.34 percent), tourism magazines (8.61 percent) and tourism exhibitions (9.28 percent).

The number of foreign tourists visiting the island has continued to rise. In 2011, Bali welcomed 2,756,579 foreign visitors, while in 2012, that number rose to 2,892,019 visitors. This year, Bali is targeting no less than 3 million foreign visitors.

Survey coordinator Stephanie Gunawan said that the information obtained from the Internet came in various forms, including online news, travelers’ blogs and social media. Stephanie said that gadgets, such as smart phones and tablet computers, had made it easy for most people to access information on Bali, wherever they were and at any time.

Around 65.88 percent of the foreign tourists are professionals and business executives, who typically dislike wasting time and are usually well-prepared their holidays.

Stephanie said that the Internet served as a very strategic promotional, marketing, order making and transaction tool that deserved to be developed.

The survey revealed that around 19.84 percent of the visitors had stated their disappointment and expressed that they would not revisit the island.

The reasons varied from traffic congestion, to overpopulation, the changing face of Bali, environmental pollution and the dishonest practices of tour guides, immigration officials and other things. “When these things are published on the Internet, of course it will negatively affect Bali’s image in the eyes of the international public,” said Stephanie.

She said that her office had urged relevant stakeholders, including private parties, the government and businesses, to find immediate solutions to the problems.

“Congestion needs long-term solutions that do not stop at the construction of a toll road and underpass. Concrete efforts are required to implement programs such as Bali clean and green, bureaucracy transparency and human resource development,” she said.

Director of Agoda.com for Indonesia, Made Gunawan, had earlier said that for the next few years, online businesses, especially in the tourism sector, would continue to thrive. Over the past five years, since the global financial crisis, Gunawan said that online businesses related to flights, hotels and travel agents had grown. Online marketing strategies had also developed, along with increased creativity among businesspeople.

A wider range of the public will also get easier access to information with the increasing trend for high-tech gadgets.

Bali Tourism Agency head, Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, similarly acknowledged the development of cyber technology had positively influenced Bali’s tourism. However, to some extent negative reports also had the potential to damage Bali’s image. “For example, the news about trash in TIME magazine some time ago. Such problems require speed and dexterity to find solutions. We have to respond to each problem with sustainable and concrete efforts,” said Subhiksu.

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