Australia has reclaimed its title as Bali’s number one source of tourism for the first time since China took the crown in 2017.
Official figures to be released this week reveal a record 1.23 million Australians traveled to Bali in 2019, a 5.4% increase from the previous year.
The figures were released by the Perth-based Indonesia Institute Inc who have been working closely with the Bali tourism board for the past six years.
Indonesia Institute President Ross Taylor told the Daily Mail Australia said that could possibly correspond with ‘people trying to escape the bushfires.’
He said it’s also likely to do with the growing wellness culture among Australians.
‘Bali has reinvented itself, changing its perception from being full of bogans and drunks to a more sophisticated demographic with a good range of high quality restaurants and food,’ he said.
He said Australia has always had a love affair with Bali, but Chinese influence from 2016 boosted their visitation figures.
‘Until 2016 we had been the kings and queens of Bali but 2017/18 the Chinese have come storming in after an international scam run by the Chinese mafia,’ he said.
The scam involved Chinese buying up restaurants, hotels and tour buses and then offering heavily-discounted upfront payments for packaged tours.
The way the tours were run meant when the Chinese tourists were arriving in Bali none of their money was going into the actual Indonesian economy – but into the businesses set up by the Chinese operators.
Early last year the Indonesian Governor started raiding Chinese establishments and cracking down on the operations.
Meanwhile the reputation of Bali as a party destination is changing.
The same set of figures revealed the percentage of Australians who have gotten into trouble requiring police attendance in Bali was only 0.17%.
‘Contrary to public perception Australians are really well behaved… they’re not getting p***ed – they’re at wellness retreats,’ he said.
He said its only a very small percentage of high profile Australians who are creating this international reputation as a nation of troublemakers.
‘It’s really damaging the reputation of Australians abroad,’ he said.