Bali’s back: Five star hotels in paradise from $85 a night
Bali hotels are slashing prices by more than 50 per cent and giving away tens of thousands of dollars in incentives to try to lure back holiday-makers.
The Indonesian island has been left "scarily quiet" following months of warnings about the active volcano Mount Agung.
Now Australian expats and Bali aficionados are joining forces with tourism operators to try to rekindle Australia's love affair with Bali and build awareness of the island's plight.
Tourist numbers have plummeted since the first signs of volcanic eruption last year, with Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya calculating the impact at about $665 million in lost tourism revenue to the end of 2017.
Figures from booking site Expedia show the average daily rate for a five-star hotel in Bali was down almost 10 per cent in December, compared to the same time in 2016.
"Across the board, there's deals aplenty with some hotels offering 50-60 per cent off," says Expedia's Australian managing director Michael Pearson.
"Today, I found a five-star hotel in Kuta for $85 a night - that's luxury at an affordable price!"
The hefty hotel price drops follow a directive from the Indonesian Tourism Minister, who has told the industry: "Do not be afraid to give discounts. It is better to have less profit than more losses from having not enough revenue."
In the latest campaign to get holiday-makers to return to Bali, Melbourne-based travel website The Bali Bible has teamed up with tourism partners to run a competition to win a super-luxury Bali holiday valued at $70,000.
"Having worked with many businesses and individuals in Bali over the last eight years, we really see the impact an event like this has on locals and their businesses," said The Bali Bible co-founder Simon te Hennepe.
"Relying almost completely on tourism revenue, the amazing people of Bali who create experiences we all enjoy are feeling the pinch right now. We thought what better way to help than offering an unbelievable holiday experience in one of our favourite destinations."
Australian expat and Bali Buddies founder Karlie Cummins, who has been driving awareness via the social media campaign #letsgotobali, says the volcano's impact on tourism has been unmistakeable.
"It's quite scary to see how quiet it has become," she says.
"Bali needs some positive attention at the moment."
Spooked by the volcano, holiday-makers have been turning to alternative destinations such as Thailand and Fiji, according to Blake Hutchison, the managing director of package specialist Luxury Escapes.
"Bookings to Bali were notably quieter in November and December ... (but) we've seen a real bounce-back in recent weeks and we attribute this to the combination of volcanic activity slowing down and some incredible deals on offer right now," he says.
Although the alert status remains level four, the danger zone has been reduced to a 6-10km radius.
Authorities say 98 per cent of the island is outside the exclusion zone and is safe for holiday-makers.
Although travel insurance policies bought after November 22, 2017 exclude cover for Mount Agung-related disruptions, travellers are being reassured they won't be left stranded.
Since the airport was forced to close for two days in November, the Bali Tourism Board has pledged to provide visitors with transport to an alternate airport free of charge, or a free night of accommodation followed by heavy discounted subsequent nights, should the airport be required to close again.
Travellers heading to Bali are still being advised to buy travel insurance (which will still cover non-volcano related claims such as accidents or medical emergencies), and check the Australian Government's Smartraveller advice site for updates.
To enter The Bali Bible competition visit thebalibible.com/escape
FIVE-STAR BALI DEALS:
• Kuta Paradiso Resort
Seven nights for two people in a deluxe room for $584, which is less than $84 per night per room. The deal features 50 per cent off spa services, free airport transfer, free parking and free internet. Price based on two people travelling May 5-12, 2018. Prices subject to availability and change. See expedia.com.au
• Movenpick Jimbaran
Save 52 per cent on a seven-night stay for $1399 for two adults and one child (valued at $2928). The offer includes private airport pick-up, daily buffet breakfasts, a three-course dinner, an a la carte lunch, afternoon tea experience, rooftop sunset cocktails, daily chocolate hour and more. See luxuryescapes.com.au
• The Royal Purnama
Expedia members can stay seven nights for two people in a one-bedroom jacuzzi suite for $1745, which is under $250 a night per room. This offer includes free breakfast, free welcome drink and free internet. Price based on two people travelling August 4-11, 2018. Prices are subject to availability and change. See expedia.com.au
• The Laguna
Stay seven nights at The Laguna, A Luxury Collection Resort and Spa with return economy flights included from $1399 per person, a saving of $1482. Deal includes daily breakfast, a dinner for two, massages for two, sunset cocktails and more. Valid for select travel dates in 2018. See flightcentre.com.au