Excess of tourists in Bali. What are the local authorities planning to do?

"Over-tourism" in Bali. This is the opinion of experts from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). They have calculated the number of people who visited the island from January to November of last year and concluded that it is more than the island can sustain. In the list of attractions also facing "over-tourism," Athens, Paris, and Phuket were mentioned.
Photo: Cassie Gallegos / Unsplash
The WTTC report was published before the tourist data for Bali in the last months of 2023 became known. The figures are impressive. From December 19, 2023, to January 3, 2024, more than a million passengers passed through Ngurah Rai Airport. This is 19 percent more compared to the previous year.
This time, the number of domestic and international tourists was approximately the same - 517,144 and 564,115, respectively. Last year, Indonesians predominated. The peak days were December 23, when everyone arrived on the island, and January 2, when everyone left. Keep this in mind if you plan to visit Bali next winter.
The top 3 busiest routes included Jakarta - Ngurah Rai, Singapore - Ngurah Rai, and Surabaya - Ngurah Rai. In total, nearly 10 million people (9,877,911) visited Bali throughout the year, with 5,328,238 being foreigners.
One might think, what's wrong with more tourists going to the paradise island? Locals should be happy since it means increased income. However, the infrastructure is not always ready for such an influx. Despite predictions and forecasts by the Balinese about the increase in travelers during the January-December holidays, they still couldn't cope with such a flow. Therefore, by the end of December, traffic on roads leading to the airport came to a standstill at some point.
At the same time, local authorities do not believe in any "over-tourism." According to their data, this year's indicators are still below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. Although there are risks, as the upcoming year could become a record-breaking one for the number of travelers. According to forecasts, in 2024, Bali will welcome 7 million foreign tourists, which is 40% more than in 2023.
The situation was commented on by the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno. He believes that an excess of tourists, if it occurs, is because everyone is concentrated in the southern part of Bali. Therefore, he suggests developing the northern, western, and eastern parts of the island - new routes in these directions are currently being worked out. This includes addressing the issue of launching public rail and sea transport.
Additional funds, which will start flowing into the Balinese treasury this year thanks to a new tourist tax, could be useful here. We pay an additional 150,000 rupiahs ($10) on entry, and they are building light rail public transport and developing tourist villages. For example, in northern Bali, in Buleleng and Karangasem, or on the east side, including Klungkung.
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