China’s economic woes and weakening currency could see Australia regain its title as Bali’s number one source for tourists for the first time since China took the crown a couple of years ago.

Figures by The Indonesia Institute Inc shows that Australian arrivals to Bali were up by 0.37 per cent in the first seven months of the year, while Chinese tourist numbers continued to stall. The Aussies have long been among Bali’s largest visitor numbers, with upwards of 1 million travellers taking to the holiday island in 2016. However, the emergence of zero-dollar Chinese tourism, which offers would-be tourists heavily discounted all-inclusive package tours, saw Chinese visitors leaping from 987,000 to 1.39 million in 2017, replacing Australia as the number one source for tourists.

As the boom that had seen millions of Chinese embark on wanderlust adventures dissipated in the second quarter of 2019 and China’s economy stalled, overseas trips and spending among the Chinese slowed down as well. The Chinese slump, which is being felt across South-east Asia’s vacation belt, is expected to continue in 2020, as the trade war between the US and China weighs down the Chinese economy.

Since January 2019, the number of Chinese arrivals in Bali has dropped by 11.57 per cent with less than 730,000 Chinese travellers visiting the holiday island. However, as more Chinese tourists choose to stay home, a larger number of Aussies are jumping on a plane to holiday on the Indonesian island.

The Bali Tourism Promotional Board estimates 1.1 million Australians will flock to Bali this year, the main reasons being the island’s proximity to Australia, a strong Australian-Indonesian exchange rate and the appealing local culture.