January 3, 2024

Bali Slips in Popularity This Summer as Japan Takes the Spotlight

Bali Slips in Popularity This Summer as Japan Takes the Spotlight

Australian travelers have shifted their preferences for international destinations this festive season, according to the Tourism and Transport Forum Australia’s (TTF) summer holiday survey. While Bali has traditionally been a favorite, this year’s top international spot goes to New Zealand, followed by Europe, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and then Indonesia.

Only four percent of surveyed individuals expressed plans to visit Indonesia, notably Bali, with 17 percent choosing New Zealand, 16 percent Europe, and 10 percent Japan. This marks a decline for Bali, which ranked third in TTF’s December survey last year.

Margy Osmond, TTF’s CEO, finds it surprising that Bali has fallen in popularity but notes that Japan has been steadily gaining favor among Australians due to its welcoming atmosphere, delicious food, and diverse cultural experiences.

Despite the decline, Osmond believes Australians’ love for Bali remains strong, especially given its affordability as an overseas destination.

Expedia’s ranking for international travel over summer also reflects this shift, with Tokyo claiming the top spot for the first time in eight years, dethroning Bali. Osaka and Kyoto in Japan also ranked higher than Bali. Cost of living pressures at home and the favorable exchange rate for the Japanese yen have contributed to this change.

Japan’s popularity is evident in Airbnb data, with eight out of the top 10 international destinations searched by Australians for stays in November and December located in Japan.

Visa-free travel to Bali may make a comeback, with strong competition for Aussie tourists. Ross Taylor, founder of the Indonesia Institute, believes a pre-emptive strike by Indonesia to cut red tape and government fees may increase tourist numbers. Currently, Australian tourists need a Visa on Arrival (VOA), costing about $50, to enter Bali.

A new Bali tourist tax of 150,000 IDR (about $15) will commence on February 14, 2024, aimed at supporting sustainable tourism efforts.

In the TTF summer travel survey, 62 percent of Australians plan to holiday within Australia, with the Gold Coast being the most popular destination. Sydney is the top city for Australian visitors. TTF’s CEO, Margy Osmond, expressed enthusiasm for supporting local tourism operators through increased domestic and international visitors.