Bali in the SandNothing – not murder, congestion, increasing pollution or a mooted booze ban – can interfere with the passion Australians have for a Bali holiday.

According to the the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics the number of Aussies visiting Indonesia (ie Bali) during July was 112,000, up an incredible 23% year on year, making it our favourite destination for the month.

Contrast that with the performance of Thailand, another long-time Australian holiday favourite, which has been struggling over the past year with negative monthly growth more often than not.

This pattern continued during July when 46,7000 Australians visited Thailand, down -1.2% from the previous year.

Why? Well that’s the big question.

One obvious answer is that Bali is taking market share from Thailand despite a rash of bad publicity including the alleged murder of a Balinese policeman by an Australian woman and her lover on Kuta Beach and a threatened booze ban.

There’s also the continued negative narrative of traffic snarls, pollution and over-crowding as tourism threatens to take over the island.

But clearly there’s still much to love about the place including easy access, cheap flights, accommodation, food and the beautiful people.

And that’s why “short-term resident departures to Indonesia have increased more than five times over the last 10 years (to) 1.2 million trips,” said Libby O’Toole, from  the Migration Analysis and Reporting Team of the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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