More Indian tourists heading to Bali

The number of Indian tourists visiting Bali is expected to steadily increase, with more Indians apparently now eager to enjoy their holidays on the resort island. Consul General of India in Bali Amarjeet Singh Takhi recently shared with Bali Daily that the island now topped the list of many Indians’ must-see places. “When I talked to several Indian tour operators in Mumbai, Delhi and other cities, they said the destination that people in India talked about is Bali.

Given the promotion by the department of tourism and other stakeholders in Bali, the number of Indians visiting Bali will increase,” he said. Takhi pointed out that the number of Indian nationals visiting Indonesia had grown significantly. The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry recorded that about 186,000 Indians had visited Indonesia from January to November 2013. “If we include December, I believe 200,000 Indians visited Indonesia.

Over 66,000 of them came directly to Bali, which is almost a 37 percent increase compared to 2012,” he said. To further increase the number, he suggested better air connectivity was crucial. “We’ve worked separately with both the Indonesian and Indian [authorities] to develop direct flight connectivity. Both Garuda Indonesia and Jet Airways, a private airline from India, have been allowed to operate flights together,” Takhi added.

The joint operations will enable passengers to travel from India to Indonesia using flights made available by the two companies. “Of course, they will have to change to a different plane in Singapore but the passengers will only have to buy one ticket,” he said. Batik Air, a service subsidiary of Lion Air, has also been allowed by both countries to operate direct flights to India. “With all these things happening, we will have more and more Indians enjoying Indonesia’s diversity,” Takhi said.

Nowadays, there are around 25 Balinese tour operators handling inbound Indian tourists. Some of them can handle 100 to 200 people every month. “They have packages that will provide the tourists with the opportunity to explore the whole of Bali, including water sports, temple excursions, cultural visits and many other activities,” Takhi went on. However, he acknowledged that the number of Indonesian tourists visiting India was still very small.

“It’s not encouraging,” he said, adding that in 2012 around 35,000 Indonesians had traveled to India. Takhi believed the number should be between 100,000 and 200,000 due to the close historical and emotional ties both countries enjoyed. “The absence of a direct flight or airline connectivity is one of the reasons,” he added. A lot of Balinese Hindus, he said, came to India for religious pilgrimages, but many Muslims also traveled to India to visit Islamic shrines in Mumbai, Agra or Rajasthan.

Buddhists could also visit many religious places in India, he explained. To ease access for Indonesian visitors, the Indian government has included Indonesia on the list of Visa on Arrival (VoA) recipient countries.

source : bali daily

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