Sunday, July 27, 2008

Returning Aussies drive Bali tourism to record

Bali is enjoying a resurgence in tourism, thanks partly to an increasing number of Australians rediscovering the Island of the Gods.

Australians are flocking to the resort island in droves, despite the Australian government maintaining its travel advisory warning tourists against visiting Indonesia.

The US government recently lifted its travel warning for Indonesia, saying the security climate in the country no longer warrants such a warning.

Australia is Bali's second biggest source of tourists, with the 78,500 Aussie visitors making up more than 13 per cent of the island's foreign tourists in that period, slightly closing the gap on Japan on close to 20 per cent.

Responding to the rebound in Australian tourism, Garuda Indonesia has added a third Darwin flight a week, effective June 25.

From July 22 a fourth service will be added from Melbourne, followed by two more services on the Australian network from September 2: a sixth flight on the Denpasar-Sydney route and a fifth from Melbourne.

The additions mean flights from Melbourne will depart daily except Monday and Saturday, while the Sydney service will be daily except Thursday.

Bali's recovery is good news for surrounding islands like Lombok, which were also hit hard by the tourism downturn after the bombings.

Dominique Duvivier, the general manager of Accor's Novotel Lombok on the island's south where a new mega-tourism project is being planned by a United Arab Emirates-based developer, says business is much busier this year.

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