What’s Bali without a Bintang, the holiday island’s favourite beer?
Tourism operators are hoping they don’t find out – pushing back against a move by conservative Muslim politicians to ban the production, distribution and consumption of alcohol in Indonesia.
There’s no doubt such a ban would hit Australian visits to Bali and Indonesia generally, which have increased more than 500% over the past decade, according to the latest outbound travel data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Kenny Baker from Nelson Bay has been to Bali every year for the past 22 years and told the Daily Telegraph yesterday he wouldn’t return if he couldn’t drink beer.
“It would not be Bali without a beer – it wouldn’t be the same,” he said. “I come to Bali to have a beer and enjoy the beach.”
Indonesia is now the second-most visited country by Australians – the vast majority of those holidaying in Bali – a close second behind perennial number one New Zealand, followed by the United States.
“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.
“Australians made 1.3 million short-term trips across the Tasman to New Zealand last financial year, 452,300 more trips than we made 10 years ago.”
She said visits to the United States of America rounded out the top three in 2015-16, more than doubling the 2005-06 figure at more than 1.0 million trips.
In 2015-16, holidays made up 59 per cent of all journeys, and the average amount of time people spent outside Australia was 23 days, according to ABS research.
New Zealand also dominated inbound travel, while China is unsurprisingly on the rise.
“Most international visitors come from New Zealand, with 1.3 million Kiwis taking short-term trips last financial year, over 246,400 more than 10 years ago,” said Ms O’Toole.
“Visitors from China followed as the second most popular source of travellers to Australia, with 1.2 million visitors. This was almost four times the number that came to Australia in 2005-06.”