People in the business and tourism industries in Bali do not expect the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan to have any affect on Bali’s exports to Japan.

Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Bali chapter chair Gede Sumarjaya Linggih said Japan had always been a major tourist and export market for Bali and he expected that the recent disaster would not affect the island’s economic activities with Japan.

“Japan is one of the most advanced countries in the world, and has always been ready to cope with any natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. They have the most sophisticated technology and money and expertise to deal with problems and we hope the country’s economic activities will recover soon,” Linggih said.

Association of Indonesian Travel Agencies Bali and Nusa Tenggara chapter coordinator Bagus Sudibya was optimistic that Japan’s economy would rebound soon despite the tragic disaster that has claimed thousands of lives and ruined industrial and agricultural sites in
the country.

“Japan’s current condition will slightly affect Bali tourism but I am positive that the country’s economy will remain stable and prosper as it is a rich country with a US$800 billion fund reserve,” Sudibya said.

In terms of tourist arrivals from Japan, Bali experienced a downturn of more than 25 percent recently, with only 305,857 Japanese people spending their holidays in Bali
last year.

“Such a decrease was attributed to the global financial crisis combined with the country’s economy. The stoppage of the Japan Airlines direct route to Bali also affected the tourist arrivals from Japan,”
Sudibya said.

Gde Darmaja, head of the province’s industry and trade office, said Japan had been the second largest export market for Bali after the United States.

His office’s data showed that Bali’s exports reached $519.9 million in value in 2010, an increase of 3 percent from the $502.5 million in 2009.

Bali’s total exports to Japan were valued at $95.6 million, an increase of 19 percent from 2009 from its marine and agricultural products.

“We have targeted to increase export values to almost five percent,” Dharmaja said, while admitting that export growth to Japan, the European Union and the United States had been slowing in recent years.

Bali exports handicrafts, wood and bamboo furniture, textiles and garments and marine and agriculture commodities to countries overseas.