Bali’s appeal is undeniable. Increase in direct tourist arrivals slowed but did not stop during the economic downturn, and the island is expecting good business for 2011 with high arrival figures and increased investment in resort and infrastructure projects.
“The feeder markets are very strong, Bali is resilient and came back even stronger,” Craig Seaward, general manager of W Hotel scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2011, told Business Traveller.
More capital is pouring into hotel and resort developments. The recently opened Banyan Tree and The Edge will be followed by the Pullman, the Courtyard and W, all launching in the first quarter of next year, with Anantara in Uluwatu and Mercure Harvestland opening later in the year. Resorts coming up beyond 2011 include The Ritz Carlton, Jumeira and Kempinski in Nusa Dua, the InterContinental and The Regent in Sanur, Prada, Ibis, The Menjagan and All Seasons.
In spite of more guestrooms on the market, most resorts plan to increase rates for next year on average by 10 percent, partly to offset an inflation of about 6 percent.
Bali, being the host of the 21st Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in 2013, has lost no time in fast tracking government decisions on infrastructure work.
“The government approved the finances for an apron renewal and renovation of the arrival and departure halls,” said Seaward.
The visa-on-arrival hall will be expanded from 900sqm to 1,500sqm and is expected to be in operation by the end of this year. Next year, the apron will be renewed and the departure hall renovated, but there has been no mention about a much-needed new runway.
A new convention facility with the main ballroom alone seating 7,000 in banquet-style set-up is in the works – it is right opposite the existing convention centre in Nusa Dua. It is expected to be ready by 2012.
Discussions are nearing decision on a six-lane flyover to connect Denpasar and Kuta, to be completed for the Apec summit. A similar road is proposed between Denpasar and Nusa Dua. Plans further ahead include an island-wide slow train system and another airport in the northern part of the island to open up that area to tourism.