Bali counted 1,298 lost room nights from cancellations by Japanese tourists the day after the earthquake and tsunami struck the country on March 11, with 38 hotels in Kuta, Nusa Dua, Tuban and Jimbaran reporting lost bookings.
Worst-hit was Kuta, where 1,151 room nights were lost from Japanese travellers cancelling holiday plans. Tuban hotels reported 114 room nights lost from cancelled bookings, Nusa Dua hotels 31 and Jimbaran two.
Figures from Ngurah Rai International Airport show that on March 11 a total of 1,183 Japanese visitors arrived, but by March 13 this had dropped to 588 and on March 15 totalled only 497.
There was no mass exodus of Japanese tourists already here as industry observers had feared, but the sharp fall in arrivals may only be the tip of the iceberg.
The crisis at Japanese nuclear power plants caused by the earthquake and tsunami added to fears that Bali’s tourism sector could pay a high price.
Bali Tourism Board chairman Ngurah Wijaya said the Japanese crisis might have significant flow-on effects on tourism bringing further declines in numbers from what was last year Bali’s second largest source of foreign tourist visitors to Bali.
“There’s a big chance that the number of Japanese tourists will go down following the disaster,” he said.
He also said the widespread destruction in Japan and the massive rebuilding effort required could affect Japanese investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
Bali trade department head Gede Darmaja predicts that exports to Japan – primarily handicrafts and textiles – will decline over the next three months.
Japan is Bali’s second biggest trade partner after the United States.
Last year Bali’s total exports rose 19 percent to US$95.61 million.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Culture and Tourism says it won’t revise its target of 7.7 million international visitors to Indonesia this year, even though many observers fear Japanese arrivals could be depressed for at least six months.
Minister Jero Wacik said: “There is no revision because the tourists will come from other places and will continue to grow.”
But he made the comment only five days after the earthquake and tsunami and before the nuclear emergency erupted.
Wacik said 400,000 Japanese visit Indonesia each year and predicted the crisis would cut that number by only 10 percent.
But Japanese tourism to Bali is still in a long-term decline, falling by nearly 23 percent last year (to 246,465) and down 13.14 percent in January – the latest figures available – on a month-on-month basis.
Japan is still No 3 in Bali’s top 10 tourist markets, after Australia and China.Filed under: Headlines