As the boom that had seen millions of Chinese embark on wanderlust adventures dissipated in the first half of 2019 and China’s economy stalled, overseas trips and spending among the Chinese slowed down, too.
The Chinese slump, which is being felt across South-east Asia’s vacation belt, is expected to continue in 2020, as the trade war between the US and China weighs down the Chinese economy.
Since January this year, the number of Chinese arrivals in Bali has dropped by 11.57 per cent, Indonesian Institute president Ross Taylor said, with less than 730,000 Chinese travellers visiting the holiday island.
“This has come following staggering growth rates of visitors from Australia to Bali since 2014 when [Chinese] arrivals went up by 45.78 per cent, followed by annual increases of 28.09 per cent, 33.94 per cent and 57.63 per cent respectively,” he said.
However, as more Chinese tourists choose to stay home, a larger number of Australians are jumping on a plane to holiday on the Indonesian island.
In 2017, 1.09 million Aussies visited Bali, while the number of Chinese visitors was 1.39 million.
“Australian arrivals held firm, rising 0.37 per cent for the seven months to the end of July, with 707,619 [visitors], a very close second to China,” he said.
“Given the difficult economic climate that prevails in Australia, and in particular in WA, the number of families and individuals still holidaying in Bali remains relatively strong.”
The Bali Tourism Promotional Board estimates 1.1 million Australians will flock to Bali this year, the main reasons being the island’s close proximity to Australia, a strong Australian-Indonesian exchange rate and the appealing local culture.
“Australia is a very important market for us,” board director Gilda Sagrado said.
“Not only are the numbers still very high, but Australians really spread their holiday spending throughout the local economy, in cafes, theme parks, taxis and pubs.
“This helps small business owners.”
Marta is an award-winning photographer and journalist with a focus on social justice issues.