THE MINISTRY of Transportation announced the opening of direct flights from China. Flights use the Xiamen Gaoqi Airport route, to I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport, Denpasar, Bali, with a daily flight frequency.

According to Director General of Civil Aviation, M. Kristi Endah Murni, said the opening of direct flights is done to increase foreign tourist visits. This policy is expected to boost the economy of the people of Bali and generally Indonesia.

“The arrival of foreign tourists from China has a positive impact on tourism and the economy of Bali. Given that China is one of the potential markets for tourism in Bali,” Kristi said, via a press release, Monday (03/06), 2023.

Kristi said, currently there are 1,143 foreign tourists from China coming to Bali since the beginning of 2023. The Xiamen-Denpasar direct flight is the first regular flight after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first Xiamen-Bali flight after the pandemic has been reopened since last Friday (03/03). The flight uses a Xianmen Airlines Boeing 738-800 aircraft with a capacity of 169 seats. As for the arrival schedule of the plane from Xiamen, namely, at 23.15 and returning to Xiamen at 00.15 WITA.

Previously, I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport had served charter flights from Shenzen (SZX) – Denpasar (DPS) once a week. Flights use Lion Air airlines with Boeing 737-900 aircraft.

“Now there are two cities in China, Xiamen and Shenzhen, which are directly connected to Bali through regular flights and charter flights,” Kristi said.

Kristi hopes that flight accessibility from China to Indonesia will further encourage the recovery of the aviation sector, especially international flight routes. The expected economic impact is not only felt by the people of Bali but also other cities in Indonesia.

Apart from China, in early March 2023, a direct flight operated once a week from Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) to Manado SAM Ratulangi Airport (MDC) and back. Flights are carried out by Garuda Indonesia airlines with Airbus A333 aircraft with a capacity of 250 seats.

“With close collaboration between ministries/agencies and all aviation stakeholders, the potential for flight connectivity will be realized so that cities can be connected to international routes,” Kristi said.

The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) report shows that 377,276 foreign tourists visited Bali in December 2022. That figure jumped 31.27% compared to November 2022 (month-on-month/mom) of 305,244 visits.

In December 2022, 376,361 foreign tourists (99.76%) visited Bali using air transportation, and 915 foreign tourists (0.24%) used sea transportation. The most tourists who come to Bali come from Australia, namely 94,365 visits (25.01%). Then, followed by foreign tourists from India 35,980 visits (9.54%), Singapore 35,606 visits (9.44%), Malaysia 23,388 visits (6.2%), and Russia 19,702 visits (5.22%). [antaranews/photo special]