Ramadhan does not deter foreigners from holidaying in Bali
Entering Ramadhan fasting month does not deter foreign tourists from spending their vacation on the island of Bali, while domestic tourist arrivals would likely drop in conjunction with the end of the school holidays.
Perry Markus, secretary of the Bali chapter of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI), said the majority of the Indonesian population was Muslim and they would not take holidays while fasting.
Between June and July, the national school holidays, thousands of locals visited Bali.
He said occupancy rates in starred- and non-starred hotels usually catering to domestic tourists had seen a decline in occupancy by 30 percent.
Meanwhile, foreign tourist arrivals would continue to rise until the end of their summer holidays, next August, he said.
Occupancy rates of three-to five-star hotels remain at between 50 percent and 60 percent this month. In some of the favorite tourist destinations, like Sanur, Kuta and Nusa Dua, occupancy rates are still very high.
“In the coming Idul Fitri holidays, domestic tourists will again come to Bali on short holidays,” Markus said.
Djinaldi Gosana, executive director of the Bali Hotel Association (BHA), commented that most of four-and five-star hotels under the association were still doing lucrative business with occupancy rates of above 60 percent.
“They [foreign tourists] are still here for their summer holidays,” Gosana said.
The current global economic downturn, he said, had not yet affected Bali tourism.
The number of visitors to Bali from some European markets had slightly declined, while from other European countries there had been a dramatic increase, Gosana said.
“We are still optimistic that the industry will face steady growth this year,” he said.
Makiko Iskandar, the coordinator of Bali Rasa Sayang, an association of travel agencies catering to Japanese markets, also shared an air of optimism.
“The Japanese market is actually stable as Japanese tourists come to Bali during any season — starting from January until the end of December,” Iskandar said.
Putu Budiasa from the Denpasar chapter of PHRI admitted that many hotels in Denpasar had seen a fall in the number of guests.
“But, they [the hotels] are gearing up to welcome domestic tourists, mostly non-Muslim visitors, to the island,” Budiasa said.
Denpasar’s hotels have already started to receive bookings for the Idul Fitri holidays.