Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bali to see more tourists from China

Rita A.Widiadana, The Jakarta Post, Ubud | Mon, 09/20/2010 10:50 AM | Bali
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Delegations from China loved the beauty of Balinese traditional dances performed by the Tirtasari gamelan and dance troupe in Peliatan village in Ubud last Saturday.

The delegations are on a visit to Indonesia to attend a public seminar on “Indonesia and China after the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations” to be held in Jakarta this Monday. There will be a meeting between scholars of both countries on Tuesday to have more intense discussions and gather new ideas on how to promote closer ties.

During the weekend the Chinese delegates attended cultural performances and visited tourist destinations including the Ubud art village and the Kintamani resort in Bangli.

“We were very delighted to watch such beautiful performances,” exclaimed delegation head Cai Jinbiao.

The troupe performed a series of dances including the Baris warrior dance and the Legong Lasem, Topeng (mask dance).

Jinbao said that Bali has always been one of the favorite destinations for travelers from China.

Data from the Bali Statistic Agency showed more and more travelers from China are visiting Bali, which saw a huge increase of 175.25 percent in Chinese tourist arrivals from only 11,422 in February 2009 to 31,441 in the same period this year.

Chinese visitors to Bali came third after Australia and Japan.

“There is a growing number of Chinese tourists coming here and we would like to see more. But, we also hope to welcome Indonesian tourists to our country,” noted Jinbao, who is also vice president of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs.

Tourism and culture are among the priorities for development of Indonesia-China bilateral relations in addition to trade and investment.

Bali is long renowned for its links with Chinese people. Chinese influences on Balinese culture and traditions are evident until now. Chinese ornaments including Chinese old coins, Prada gold-printed textiles are extensively used for various rituals and traditional costumes.

Clara Juwono, a scholar from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said that all global destinations are seeing an increasing number of Chinese tourists.

“We will see a large number of Chinese tourists in countries in Asia, Europe, Australia and the US. They [the Chinese tourists] are everywhere, as the country is getting richer and richer. This will change the face of global tourism,” Clara said.

Despite the global economic crisis, the number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad rose 5.2 percent in 2009 to 42.2 million, up from less than 7 million in 2001, while total spending rose 16 percent from 2008 to about US$42 billion.

IB Ngurah Wijaya, head of the Bali Tourism Board, also said Bali has to provide facilities to cater for tourists coming from China and other countries.

Bali now has 766 tourist guides who speak Mandarin, which is inadequate to cater for the rising number of Mandarin-speaking visitors.

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