The Bali authorities are aiming to attract a total of 5 million foreign tourists and 10 million domestic visitors a year by 2015.
Speaking this week, Governor I Made Mangku Pastika said that the provincial government intended to keep pursuing ever higher numbers of visitors.
“With the stable and conducive political, security and social situation, as well as the momentum from the 2013 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, I’m sure that in 2015 we will be able to welcome 5 million foreign visitors,” he said, adding that the authorities expected to see a further 10 million domestic tourists in the same year.
In 2011 a total of 2.75 million foreigners entered Indonesia through Bali, and the island saw approximately 5.7 million domestic tourists.
Pastika said that infrastructure improvements for the forthcoming APEC summit and the Miss World beauty pageant, both due in Bali next year, would mean the island was ready to welcome such large numbers of tourists. He added that the increased international profile provided by these and other events would help boost arrivals.
“This target is not imaginary,” he said.
A total of around 3 million foreign tourists are expected to visit Bali by the end of this year.
The 5 million target has been criticised by former tourism minister I Gde Ardhika, who said that Bali should focus on attracting smaller numbers of “high quality” tourists instead of ever larger volume.
“High-quality tourists should not be narrowly defined as those who have money to spend on the island, but more importantly, those who are capable of appreciating the cultural values of Bali,” he said.
Among the planned infrastructure improvements is a second airport, with state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura announcing last week that work on the project was expected to start next year.
Angkasa Pura spokesman Miduk Situmorang said last Thursday that even after its current upgrade, the existing airport would likely reach full capacity within the next five years.
He said that a second airport, expected to be built in the northern regency of Buleleng, was planned to have a capacity of around 40 million passengers per year.
“We are anticipating more tourists to come to Bali,” he said.
Situmorang said that the new airport would help increase development in the impoverished northern and eastern parts of Bali.
“Buleleng is known for its diving spots and dolphins. It’s largely an undeveloped farming area, so we hope an airport will boost tourism there,” he said.
He said the project would likely get underway in late 2013, pending approval from the Transport Ministry.