Bali looks to reopen borders soon as Chinese demand for travel reignites

As China’s tourism economy begins to reopen, a survey of first-tier city consumers shows that 53 per cent are planning to travel out of the country within the year, with Bali looking to be among the first to open their borders and welcome them.

Flights to Indonesia were suspended on April 2, but Bali is looking to reopen in May.

Speaking to local publication Tribun, Bali Tourism Agency chief Putu Astawa said “the key is no more local transmissions”.

“When we achieve that, not even until June, even May we can start welcoming Chinese tourists,” he said.

Thailand is another key market for the Chinese, with 71 per cent of Chinese travellers ready to head to the land of smiles soon, according to the China Thailand Travel Sentiment Survey.

Thailand has been heavily impacted by the travel bans, and is keen to see a return of Chinese visitors who made up around 25 per cent of inbound arrivals prior to the travel ban.

The fall in Chinese visitors from January to April alone could cost the Thai economy US$3.05 billion, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Thailand is likely to end this year with only 16 million international tourists and 60 million domestic trips, far below the pre-coronavirus targets of 40 million and 172 million respectively.

“This revised forecast assumes tourism activities can resume in May, with the outbreak in Thailand levelling off while overseas infections subside,” said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn. “The industry needs to watch the situation closely before commencing business.

“The outbreak has left a deep wound, so the recovery process is expected to gradually relieve in a U-shape. But we’re eager to push more speed to the V-shape growth by developing tourism confidence on the supply side.”