Bali continued to see a rising number of Chinese tourists in October, but the island welcomed fewer European tourists.
According to data recently released by the provincial statistics agency, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the island in October reached 32,245, an increase of 49 percent from 21,642 in September.
Chinese tourists contributed 12.64 percent to total foreign tourist arrivals in Bali that month, which reached 255,021.
“The number of Chinese tourists continues to rise due to rapid economic growth in the country, despite the financial crisis in Europe,” said Gde Suarsa, head of the Bali Statistics Agency.
From January to October, the total number of Chinese tourists reached 273,684, a rise of 37.7 percent compared to the same period last year.
This figure contributes largely to the country’s overall recorded arrivals of some 450,000 Chinese. Next year, Indonesia targets welcoming 600,000 Chinese tourists.
“Over the last several months, the Chinese have always been the second largest group, after the Australians, visiting the island,” Suarsa said.
In line with China’s rapid economic growth, over the coming decade, the country, with a population of more than 1.3 billion, is expected to contribute the single largest number of tourists in the world with some 100 million of its population possibly taking trips abroad by 2020.
Meanwhile, the number of European tourists visiting Bali during October decreased, especially those from Germany, the UK and France.
The data showed that German arrivals recorded the most significant decrease in October, by 26.75 percent, followed by British with 26.69 percent and French with 11.29 percent, compared to the previous month.
Germany recorded a decrease in numbers from 11,852 people in September to 8,682 in October, while the UK showed a decrease from 12,042 to 8,828.
Suarsa said the fall was the result of the ongoing financial crisis in the continent.
However, the citizens of these three countries still remain in the top 10 of those visiting Bali, alongside those from Australia in first, as well as China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, the US and Singapore. The French, British and Germans ranked sixth, ninth and 10th respectively.
Suarsa added that overall, the number of foreign tourists visiting Bali during the period January to October reached 2.44 million, an increase of 3.7 percent from 2.35 million in the same period in 2011.
Bali has set a target of 2.8 million foreign tourists during this year.
In an effort to further increase the number of direct arrivals to Bali, national flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia plans to operate 16 new routes connecting Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport with some domestic and foreign cities next year.
The new routes, which will be in addition to the existing 33 routes, will likely include cities in Europe and America.