"Most of them flew directly to Bali via the Denpasar International Airport of Ngurah Rai with only 886 of the visits by sea as passengers of tourist boats, head of the Provincial Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) Adi Nugroho said here on Thursday.
He said Chinese made up 20.22 percent of the total number of 4.48 million visits by foreign tourists to Bali in the January-November period of 2016.
China is now the second largest country of origin of foreign tourists to Bali after Australia.
Adi Nugroho said the number of visits by Australian tourists to Bali in the same period totaled 1.04 million, up 19.46 percent from 876,748 visits in the same period in the previous year.
Australia accounted for 23.35 percent of the total number of visits by foreign tourists to Bali topping other countries, he added.
Meanwhile, tourism observer Tjokorda Gde Agung said Chinese, who had come in throngs for holidaying in Bali could soon overtake Australians in number.
"It is very likely especially with the growing number of direct flights between Denpasar and Chinese cities," Tjokorda said.
The nations flag carrier Garuda Indonesia itself already served regular flights directly between Bali and China, he said.
"The direct flights would certainly contribute greatly to growing number of Chinese tourists to Bali," he said.
The 41.28 percent increase was the second highest after a 60.59 percent increase recorded in the number of Indian visitors to Bali in the same period.
The number of visits from 10 largest countries of origin all increased excepting from Malaysia and South Korea.
With the trend , the target of 5.5 million visitors to Bali set for 2017 is expected to be easily reached.
Indonesia hopes to draw more Chinese tourists to meet its target of 20 million visits by foreign tourists in 2019 from the target of 12 million in 2016.
China has become a potential tourism market. A record high of 133 million Chinese tourists were estimated to make outbound trips by the end of 2016, according to the report released by the China Tourism Academy and the financial services company UnionPay International.
The figure would mark an 11.5 per cent rise from 2015.
Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan remain the top choices for mainland tourists, according to a report.
Chinese tourists are increasingly getting involved in leisure activities and learning about local lifestyles when traveling overseas rather than just shopping, according to the report.
Chinese tourists spent US$104.5 billion overseas in 2015, up 16.6 per cent from 2014, and a growing number of foreign countries including Indonesia are relaxing their visa requirements for Chinese tourists to tap their purchasing power.
Tourists from China along with many other countries are offered visa free travel by Indonesia. (*)