Bali Held Hostage by Price Gouging by Domestic Airlines
Bali Tourism Leaders Express Sympathy for President’s Threat to Allow Foreign Airlines to Operate Domestic Routes to Bypass Expensive Indonesian Airlines
NusaBali reports that domestic tourist travel to Bali declined by 12% from January through May 2019, reflecting the same period in which domestic ticket prices increased dramatically across all of Indonesia. Meanwhile, travel by road has increased, but to an insufficient degree to adequately compensate the loss of passengers suffered in the aviation sector.
The head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Department, A.A. Gede Yuniartha Putra, said on Sunday, June 2, 2019: “The effect of the increase in domestic ticket prices has had a very bad effect on tourism. Almost all airports (in Indonesia) are now quiet. Since the increase of ticket prices in January, the number of domestic tourists coming to Bali has declined by 12%.”
Yuniartha stated his support for the idea put forward by President Joko Widodo of inviting foreign airlines to operate in Indonesia. The tourism chief of Bali said foreign airlines offer ticket prices that are less expensive than the fares operated by domestic carriers.
Yuniartha said that the high price of domestic air fare has had no effect on the total of foreign tourist arrivals coming to Bali. He said that a shift is underway in Indonesia where domestic travelers are changing from air travel to other means of travel including busses, private vehicles, trains, and sea transport.
While there has been a seasonal surge of domestic travelers to Bali over what is traditionally the busy Lebaran Holiday, indications are that the total number of visitors to Bali is far below what it was in previous years as measured in arrivals at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.