Imlek no boost to hotel occupancy

The Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI) has predicted that the coming Chinese New Year, or Imlek, would not significantly increase occupancy levels at Bali hotels, despite expectations that many Chinese tourists would visit the island. The beginning of the Year of the Horse in the lunar calendar, which falls this Friday, would make this a long weekend; however it would not attract many domestic tourists to come to Bali, the association said.

Bali usually sees high arrivals of domestic tourists on long weekends, with travelers from major cities in Java visiting the island to take a short break from their daily routines. “However, this will not be the case this long weekend, because it has only been a few weeks since Christmas and New Year, when many domestic tourists visited,” I Gusti Ngurah Rai Suryawijaya, chairman of the association for Badung regency, said Wednesday.

He added that floods were still occurring in some areas, including Jakarta, which might also affect arrivals for the coming holiday. As for the arrival of Chinese tourists, Suryawijaya expressed pessimism that this would significantly boost occupancy in the island’s hotels, due to the oversupply of hotel rooms that has led to a fierce competition in the accommodation business. This has sparked price wars among hotels, as they compete to attract more guests.

“The Chinese New Year is unlikely to have a significant impact. The situation might not be better than in previous years. It’s even getting worse because of the major problem of oversupply. We predict that the increase will be less than five percent on average,” he told Bali Daily. He further explained that the current occupancy level at the island’s hotels stood at an average of 60 percent, which was not very good.

“We have been all out with promotion strategies, but it remains difficult. The number of rooms keeps increasing, but the number of arrivals grows slowly.” He agreed that China was indeed a potential market for Bali’s tourism, but said that the Chinese market was only “high in quantity, not quality”, because most of the tourists from the country were not big spenders, with a length of stay of only four to five days.

“There are also high-end Chinese tourists coming here, but most of them are from the middle class. Most of the high-end tourists probably prefer Europe and the US as their vacation destination.” Another problem was that Bali was still unable to compete with other destinations that were willing to spend much larger budgets on tourism promotion, he said, calling on the island’s tourism authority to improve its promotion strategies and budget.

He also called on the government to evaluate the carrying capacity of Bali, to halt overdevelopment, as well as reinforce the hotel moratorium. Despite the gloomy outlook from the hotel association, travel agents and hotels are gearing up to handle a rising influx of Chinese tourists this Chinese New Year holiday. Bambang Sugiono from Gajah Bali Wisata said that the travel agency was currently handling 300 groups of Chinese tourists holidaying in Bali, with each group consisting of 20 people.

“They are coming at different times, starting Jan. 20, and staying in Bali until Feb. 10,” he said. Some of the tourists, most from the high-end markets of Shanghai and Beijing, come on regular flights, while others take charter flights. They will stay for two nights at resorts and the remaining two nights in villas. “They will stay in luxurious accommodations in Nusa Dua and Jimbaran, and will visit places of interests in Tanjung Benoa, Uluwatu and Ubud,” Bambang said, adding that the tourists took tour packages with a price starting at US$1,000. While the high-end tourists prefer to stay in Nusa Dua and Jimbaran, those from the middle class stay in other areas, including Sanur.

source : bali daily

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