Bali a popular destination for family vacations

Bali has been developing into a popular destination for family vacations with a rising number of tourists coming to the resort island with their children, a recent survey on the behaviour of foreign tourists has suggested.

Based on the survey by Bank Indonesia (BI), 54 per cent of the respondents were parents with their children, while the remainder travelled with friends or relatives, said BI's head of Bali and Nusa Tenggara region, Dwi Pranoto.

"This indicates that Bali is a perfect destination for all ages, with its distinctive culture and beautiful nature," he said, adding that tourism products that supported local cultures, like handicrafts and food, had to be developed.

Families, he said, had become a special market segment for Bali's tourism, with good spending and length of stay.

Pranoto said that vacationing families planned well, considering their budget and the needs of each family member during their vacation.

Star-rated hotels were preferred by 70 per cent of the respondents, while 16 per cent preferred villas or apartments, and the remaining 11 per cent non-starred hotels.

Currently, average total spending for tourists is US$150.23 (S$192) per day, excluding domestic flights. The figure has increased from $144.40 in 2012.

Their average length of stay has also increased to 8.55 days from last year's 7.67 days.

"The increase in spending and length of stay might be related to the fact that Bali is being visited by tourists in family groups," Dwi said.

Tjokorda Oka Arta Ardana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace, chairman of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association for Bali, also acknowledged the island's rising popularity as a destination for family vacations.

He said that there had been more tourists coming to Ubud with their families, including parents with young children.

"The interesting side of Ubud for children is that they can learn the culture and about the daily lives of local people," Cok Ace said.

For years, there have been many places in Ubud offering workshops for painting, dancing, gamelan playing, Indonesian and Balinese language, and many other subjects.

"These places always see a lot of visitors, including children," Cok Ace said, stressing that this was the strength of Bali as a destination.

He said Bali did not need many artificial attractions, or to copy the concept of other countries' tourist attractions, such as Disneyland.

"Bali is clearly different from Singapore, which has been set up as a destination for shopping with tens of millions of visitors each year. Bali's potential is its culture, and that's what we need to focus on in developing tourism here."

Foreign tourist arrivals to Bali totaled 2,892,019 people last year. This year, as of July, the number had reached 1,492,971 people. In addition, foreign tourists arrive in Indonesia through other provinces, but also visit Bali during their time in Indonesia.