Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bali hotels slash rates to attract tourists

Hotels in Bali are slashing room rates amid falling occupancies as the global economic downturn takes its toll on the tourism-dependent economy.

Total foreign arrivals hit a record 1.97 million last year as the island recovered from the impact of the 2005 terrorist attack. The second biggest market behind Japan, Australia accounted for more than 300,000 visitors, up 51 per cent from 2007.

However, the recovery is expected to be disrupted amid the international credit crunch, with the Bali Tourism Authority estimating foreign visitor numbers will drop 8.6 per cent to 1.8 million this year.

Hotels are scrambling to fill rooms. Budget and mid-range properties popular with Australians are offering the steepest discounts, with some halving published rates, while upmarket resorts hit by a slowing in the executive market are trying to be more creative in their response to the downturn.

The three-star Melasti Beach Hotel in Legian is offering its standard room at $US45 ($A68.93) net per night, down from $US96 ($A147.05), and is throwing in breakfast for free, while the four-star Dynasty Hotel in Tuban has cut its standard rate to $US80 ($A122) from $US145 ($A222).

Meanwhile, although top-end hotels are sharing the pain, they are more reluctant to reduce rates, Djinaldi said.

Instead, they are offering bonus nights, meals or spa treatments to wealthy guests who are reining in lavish lifestyles.

The exclusive Amanresorts group, which has three properties in Bali, said it had no plans to reduce rates, but had cancelled a planned hike that would have taken its minimum published rate from $US908 ($A1390) to $US1029. ($A1576)

Some hotels such as The Bale in Nusa Dua were quick to increase rates at the height of peak season last year before tourist numbers started dropping.

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