DENPASAR, Bali – Thousands of domestic visitors are flooding Kuta and other destinations in Bali as school holidays began last week.
Numerous large buses carrying school students and local tourists are navigating the narrow streets of Denpasar, Kuta and Sanur, while others are seen parking at Tanah Lot, Bedugul and Beratan Lake as well as other favorite tourist sites, including art and souvenir shops and Sukawati traditional arts market in Gianyar.
Putu Budiasa, head of Denpasar Tourism office, said the holiday season was encouraging for tourism businesses catering to middle-class visitors, including school students. “Business is robust for city and budget hotels in Denpasar and the surrounding areas,” Budiasa said.
Occupancy rates at such hotels surge to between 75 and 80 percent, especially during the peak of this holiday season in late June and early July.
Sanur Beach, for instance, is now crowded with domestic tourists eager to watch the sunrise.
Similarly, I Ketut Sari, a handicraft seller on Kuta Beach, shared that she could sell more than usual.
Perry Markus, secretary of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association, admitted that the school holiday period was one of the busiest times for Bali’s tourist industry.
Markus said it was also time for non-starred hotels and budget hotels to profit from their full occupancy rates.
Ketut Ardana, chairman of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (Asita) said Bali had always been the preferred holiday destination for local tourists, especially during school holidays, Idul Fitri, Christmas and New Year.
The majority of local tourists visit their favorite beaches, such as Kuta Beach, Sanur Beach and Nusa Dua Beach, as well as Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, Bedugul resort and Kintamani Geopark.
Souvenir markets, art shops and traditional markets are also the target destinations for domestic tourists.
A survey conducted by Bali Tourism office revealed that the number of domestic tourist arrivals to Bali continued to rise every year.
In 2008, the number of domestic tourists reached 2,898,794, and in 2009 this increased to 3,521,135, an increase of 21.47 percent.
In 2010, the number of domestic tourists increased to 4,646,343, a rise of 31.85 percent.
In 2011, this rose again to 5,675, 121, while in 2012, it also surged to 6,063,558 persons.
Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, head of Bali Tourism office, said that every hotel and accommodation facility in Bali had its own market.
“Domestic visitors comprise large numbers of people and must be managed properly. They are the island’s loyal market,” he said.
In addition, domestic visitors also contributed to supporting small- and medium-scale industries in Bali, Subhiksu added.