"Tourists from other countries need to take more effort and bear higher costs. If they come from the ASEAN region, which is closer, it is hoped that this will become a source of Bali's greater foreign exchange," Head of BPS Bali Hanif Yahya stated in Denpasar on Saturday.
He said that offering greater convenience of air transportation from ASEAN to Bali and vice versa is one of the main requirements for boosting the number of foreign tourists to the island.
Apart from opening access for world travelers to Bali, exports from the island are also absorbed more easily and swiftly by the ASEAN market as an increasing number of direct flights are opened from several countries in Southeast Asia to Bali and vice versa.
"The convenience for tourists visiting Bali can be fulfilled, including the flow of exports and imports that can also be carried out more quickly," he remarked.
Data from BPS Bali in February 2023 showed that four of the five countries with the highest number of flights to the island were countries in Southeast Asia.
Moreover, direct flights operate from the Philippines and Timor-Leste to Bali.
Tourists from ASEAN ranked fourth, with the figure approaching 50 thousand, in February 2023, after the European, Oceania, and Asian regions.
Cumulatively, foreign tourist arrivals in Bali in 2022 reached 2.15 million, compared to only 51 people in 2021, following the relaxation of air travel restrictions as the COVID-19 case count was brought under control.
Of the 10 leading source countries of foreign tourist arrivals in 2022, tourists from Singapore ranked third with the figure reaching 129 thousand, while Malaysia ranked eighth with 91 thousand people.
Meanwhile, based on data from the I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali, until April 2023, several international airlines continue to request direct flight access to the island, which currently has 26 international routes operated by 32 airlines.
From ASEAN, countries that have served direct flights to Bali include Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
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