BELLS are ringing in Bali owing to the rise of Indian weddings held there despite the lack of direct flights between the two countries, say tourism stakeholders.
On the sidelines of the Indian Travel Congress 2015 held recently in Bali, Samabe Bali Suites & Villas general manager, Ralf Luthe, said the Indian wedding market for his property has been rising, mainly through word-of-mouth. It had been the venue for 20 Indian weddings over the last three years.
He added: “The wedding business is better than incentives because with weddings, the organisers don’t cut corners.”
Bali can also cater well to this market due to the broader size range of 150 people to bigger groups of 300 and more, according to I Nyoman Juniarsa, Grand Nikko Bali’s director of sales for leisure.
Vikkram Kumar Kalra, a wedding planner in Bali specialising in Indian weddings, handled seven Indian weddings in 1Q2015. He said: “Despite the lack of flights, Bali is seen as an attractive destination, has a similar culture with India and is known as the land of a thousand temples. Indian priests are also available in Bali while English is widely spoken at the hotels.”
Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, the lack of direct flights has never been an issue, according to Cox & Kings’ associate vice president, corporate communications and CSR, Thomas C Thottahil. “Destination weddings are planned at least eight months prior, so there is never a shortage of seats. In addition, we do bulk bookings with the airlines, so we are able to negotiate for better airfares,” he said, adding that Cox & Kings has seen 10 to 15 per cent year-on-year increase in Indian weddings to Bali.