Despite of strong interest, European visitors to Bali is rather limited compared to other closer destinations like Australia, Japan, and China. One of the most prominent problem is obviously the distance. With about 12 hours to the nearest regional hubs like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, or Jakarta plus another fee hours to reach Bali, flying from Europe to Bali is definitely exhaustive and expensive.
“It is not that expensive actually, we flew AirAsiaX to Kuala Lumpur and caught a connecting AirAsia here to Bali, but it is absolutely exhaustive, don’t mention how my kids feel”, a British tourist said when we interviewed spending their day under the sun of Seminyak beach. “We love it here very much, but to be honest I do not know if we would do it again”, his wife added. But finally both agreed that they will do it again when their two toddlers grew a bit older.
The couple said that most of the time they spend their holiday in southern European shoreline like Majorca and St Tropez. “But we love it here much better but it is just so far away”, he assured. In addition to cost and exhaustive time on board especially with two bored little kids, for that long they had to prepare quite a long span of holiday too. “It does not make any sense to fly that long only to have a few days of holiday, right?”, a question that did not really need an answer.
Interestingly when they were asked where they think they would spend their next holiday, both said “Sri Lanka!” enthusiastically. “We read a lot about Sri Lanka and believed that their tropical atmosphere will not be so much different from here in Bali”, he threw a reason. “But the best about it is that it is only a bit more than a half way”, he continued.
In a research we did we learned that Sri Lanka has been a very popular tropical holiday destination before it fell into decades long of domestic turmoils. About three years ago however, peace has been restored throughout and the country is pushing so hard to catch up its lag behind its neighbors. Facilities started to be built including those related to tourism industry, and slowly but surely tourists start to return.
Whilst the time being most of tourism facilities are restored old ones, massive investments are on the pipes. Among evidence of the strength of Sri Lankan tourism is presence of private villas. Whilst popularity of Bali villa accommodation only started about a decade ago, Sri Lanka villas have enjoyed their popularity even before the unrest took place. “We have more than 50 private villas in our Sri Lanka portfolio, most of which are restored classic villas built way before the domestic unrest took place about 30 years ago”, an executive of Private Leisure International, regional villa rental specialist, said in an interview.
It seems like Bali is getting quite a strong competitor rising up, especially for European market.