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Chinese Arrivals to Bali Down 11.44%

US - China Trade War Has Negative Impact on Travel to Bali

BISNIS reports that the continuing trade war between the USA and China is triggering a downturn in Chinese tourist arrivals to Indonesia.

Based on data from the Central Agency for Statistics (BPS), the number of Chinese tourist arrivals to Indonesia for the period January-July 2019 totaled 1.24 million, declining 2.31% when compared to the same period in 2018 when 1.27 million Chinese visited Indonesia.

Titi Kanti Lestari, director of Finance, Information Technology and Tourism at BPS cited two possible explanations for the downturn in Chinese tourism. According to the statistician, the downturn may be due to a weakening economy fueled by the USA-China trade war or the diversion of Chinese tourists to new destinations.

“It can also be that our market share (of Chinese tourists) has declined,” Lestari told BISNIS on Friday, September 6, 2019.

According to the head of the Public Relations for the Ministry of Tourism, Guntur Sakti, the ongoing USA-China trade war is affecting all global business sectors, including tourism. He said Chinese arrivals to other member countries belonging to ASEAN have also declined.

On a cumulative basis, Sakti said, arrivals to Thailand for January-July 2019 arrivals increased a very slim 1.92%. This was also the case in Singapore where arrivals grew only by 1.35%. Vietnamese tourism, however, continued to show strong growth increasing 7.9% for the same period. Sakti concluded: “Arrivals are weakening everywhere, what’s more in Indonesia where Chinese tourists were the largest inbound market. The trade war is having an effect on outbound Chinese tourism.”

Meanwhile, Air China has canceled its Beijing-Jakarta service; Batik Air canceled its Guilan-Jakarta route, and Citilink Airlines has eliminated its routes between Ordos-Batam and Nanjing-Bali. Sriwijaya Air, owned by the national carrier Garuda Indonesia, has eliminated the following services: Guangzhou-Bali, Fuzhou-Bali, Heifei-Bali, Hangzhou-Tanjung Pinang, Guangzhou-Bali, Ningbo-Tanjung Pinang, and Nanning-Bali.

Bali Arrivals Badly Affected

The loss of flight connections between China and Indonesia have had a strong impact on Chinese tourist arrivals to Bali. For the highlighted period of January-July 2019 Chinese tourist arrivals to Bali totaled 730,969 – a decline of 11.44% for the same period one year before when 824,378 Chinese traveled to Bali.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News, citing a McKinsey report, predicts the decline in Chinese visitors will continue through 2020 if the US-China trade war continues unabated.

This is happening at a time in which China’s middle-class purchasing power has increased to the point that China now represents the world's biggest outbound travel market.

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