The head of the Research Center on Tourism and Culture at Bali’s Udayana University, Agung Suryawan Wiranatha, is urging the government to adopt a more serous approach to “grey” tourism, given the strong potential this market holds for Bali.
Quoted in Bisnis Bali, Suryawan said: “There are many pensioners from abroad who are wealthy. If they have money, they are certain to seek a comfortable life. Normally, they spend their time visiting tourist destinations. This has potential for Bali.”
Moreover, Suryawan believes that the development of “grey” or senior citizen tourism can be done without damage to the island’s existing tourist markets. Adding, “Senior citizen tourism will, in fact, open employment opportunities, such as drivers, nurses and household staff.”
Suryawan shared his vision for “grey” tourism, saying current immigration rules permit tourists to stay in Bali for up to six months. These people can stay in villas and employ drivers, burses and maids.
He admitted that senior citizen tourism is already facilitated in Bali, but only in a partial and less-than-serious manner. This is proven by the existence of a Japanese retirement village in Tabanan, West Bali.
Suryawan pointed to other countries that are adopting a serious plan to garner a share of the senior citizen market. Thailand, for instance, has been developing this market for the past five years. The Bali-based tourism academic estimates the average spend of the grey market is US$75-$100 per day. “Their spending levels may be less that most tourists, but if viewed from the length of stay which is quite long, the benefit to Bali is much larger,” Suryawan said.
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