Wednesday, April 25, 2018


  Jakarta, April 25, 2018 (Antara)- After waiting for three years, Garuda Indonesia finally on April 24 materialized its inaugural direct flight serving Mumbai-Denpasar, with the aim of boosting Indian tourist arrivals in Indonesia.
         Direct flight is believed to be crucial in attracting more Indian tourists as the south Asian nation is one of the highest growing markets.
         Indian tourist arrivals to Indonesia has grown significantly, reaching 485 thousand in 2017 or an increase of 29 percent than the previous year.
         With the start of direct flights, Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya is optimistic that the number of Indian tourists would grow up to 40 percent to reach some 700 thousand this year.
         The airline noted that the occupancy rate for the carrier's route from Mumbai to Denpasar had reached over 82 percent on its inaugural flight.
         The GA-815 flight carried as many as 192 passengers of the total capacity of 222 people, served by the Airbus 330 series 200 aircraft, with a configuration of 36 business-class and 186 economy-class seats.
        "For an inaugural flight, this is a good number," Garuda Indonesia President Director Pahala N. Mansury noted after landing at the I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Kuta, Bali, on April 24, 2018, from Mumbai.
         Mansury stated that his office had earlier conducted intensive promotion targeting the Indian market in order to attract as many passengers as possible for the route that holds high potential.
         He expects the occupancy rate to reach more than 75 percent, as tourists from India do not need to obtain visas to enter Indonesia.

         Mansury said in the beginning Garuda will serve flight between Bali and Mumbai twice a week every Monday and Thursday with Airbus 330, which has a capacity of 222 passengers.
         In June, the airline will serve the route three times a week and the frequency will be increased to four times a week before the end of this year, he said.
         Minister Arief Yahya, who also joined the inaugural flight from Mumbai, said he hoped Garuda will also serve flights to other cities in India such as to Agra where the Indian tourist icon Taj Mahal is located.
         Jignesh Thakkar, a passenger who also joined the inaugural flight from Mumbai, stated that he would immediately seize the opportunity to travel to Bali, as in India, Bali is well-known for its natural beauty and culture that bears similarities to his community.
         "Most of my friends recommend Bali as a place to vacation, and we want to spend our honeymoon here," Thakkar stated shortly after landing on the Island of Gods. 
    During the January-February 2018, a total of 55,530 Indian tourists visited Bali, up by 20,624 people or 59.08 percent from 34,906 Indians during the same period in the previous year.
         "India is in the third rank of countries contributing the largest number of tourists to Bali Island, after China and Australia," Adi Nugroho, head of the Bali statistic office, said recently.
         Indian tourists constituted 6.9 percent of the total 805,538 tourist arrivals in Bali during the January-February 2018, down 11.94 percent from 914,809 tourist arrivals in the same period of last year.
         During the last five years, the Indian nationals' visit to Indonesia is continuing to increase and last year it grew 29 percent.
         In 2017, at least 272 thousand people out of 485 thousand Indian tourists visiting Indonesia, arrived in I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali.
         However, the 485 thousand visitors were relatively small as India has around 10 million overseas travelers per year.
         The Indian tourists tend to bring family's members and travel in a group for specific destinations, such as religious pilgrims, wedding package, honeymoon package, and cultural package.
         Bali, famously known as the Gods Island, is very rich with Hindu's religiosity and cultures, which makes it popular among people in India who are mostly Hindus.
         In terms of travel's spending, an Indian tourist spends averagely US 903 dollar per visit with duration of stay from five to six days.
         Meanwhile, Indian Consul General in Bali Sunil Babu welcomed the first route connecting India and Bali.
         He stated that the average tourist from India to Bali reached about 800 people every day.
         "The (direct flights) are a long-awaited demand, especially of Indian tourists," Sunil Babu stated in Denpasar.
         His side welcomed the national flag carrier's move to capture the current growing market.
         "The market is already available. I am glad Garuda took the first step to enter the market," he remarked. ***1***

(T.F001/A/BESSR/Bustanuddin) 26-04-2018

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