From 4th December this year, passengers have been able to fly from Bali to Seoul with Garuda Indonesia.

Previously, this route was only served by Korean Air. This return to the skies is a response to the growing flow of tourists from The Land of The Morning Calm. Garuda’s inaugural Seoul-Bali flight carried 141 passengers.

Irfan Setiaputra, President Director of Garuda Indonesia, said he hopes that the launch of the Seoul-Bali flight will increase traffic for foreign tourists from the East Asian region, particularly South Korea, as one of the countries with promising potential for tourist arrivals in Indonesia.

Passengers onboard this service will be flown in the Airbus 330-300 from Ngurah Rai International Airport, where flights to Incheon Airport will operate twice per week: outward flights will run on Monday and Sunday. Garuda Indonesia departs from Seoul Incheon Airport at 11:35 and lands at 17:50. Inbound, the plane takes off from Bali at 01:25 and lands in Seoul at 09:15. The aircraft has a capacity of 251 passengers, with a configuration of 36 business seats and 215 economy seats.

From January to September 2022, Indonesia recorded more than 60,000 visits by South Korean tourists, and most of them travelled to Bali. The graph continues to increase per month. Before the pandemic, the number was closer to 400,000 visits.

Moreover, Indonesia and South Korea will commemorate 50 Years of Diplomatic Relations in 2023. The Indonesian Embassy in Seoul will also hold a series of activities marking the close diplomatic relations between the two countries. Therefore, direct flights from Incheon to Denpasar further strengthen bilateral relations.

Kelingking Beach
Kelingking Beach, one of the best hidden beach in Bali. © Darren Lawrence

Are Korean tourists increasing in Bali?

For nearly two decades, Indonesia, particularly Bali, has been a popular tourist destination for Koreans. They visit Bali to enjoy the natural scenery and the uniqueness of local culture and art. In December 2022, the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) reported the number of tourists arriving in Bali in October 2022 as 305,244, a 4.84% increase compared to September 2022.

According to BPS data, 305,152 foreign tourists arrived at Ngurah Rai International Airport, while 92 arrived at the port. South Korea ranked ninth among the top ten countries that visited Bali, after Australia, India, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, and Russia.

Seoul
Yangjae Citizens Forest is a lush green park in Yangjae-dong, Seoul, with more than 70 species of trees, including maple and pine. © Daniel Bernard

The Cultural Influence of South Korea in Indonesia

The Korean Wave, or Hallyu, can introduce South Korean culture to Indonesians well and even tends to influence the lifestyle of Indonesian youth, starting from taste in music, style, food, beauty products, and so on.

The popularity of Korean entertainment in Indonesia rose in the late 2000s, and it grew even more prominent in the 2010s as Korean television series and music became mainstream. Without missing a beat, Indonesian e-commerce platforms embraced the fever and appointed well-known artists as brand ambassadors. In 2018, Shopee Indonesia named BLACKPINK its regional brand ambassador, while Tokopedia chose BTS.

With advances in technology and transportation, and the number of fans of Korean music groups who frequently visit Indonesia for concerts, it naturally attracts international media to cover it. It can be used as an event to promote Indonesia to the world and attract foreign tourists to visit Indonesia. This way, it can strengthen Indonesia’s cooperative relationship with South Korea while increasing its foreign exchange reserves.

Are you happy Garuda Indonesia is resuming direct flights to Seoul, South Korea? Let us know in the comment section!

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