In the not so distant past the Bali brand name was all that was glitter and gold in tropical Asian destinations. A mere whisper of the magical phase evoked images of swaying palm trees, exotic voyages and was revered in the same way as Hawaii, Tahiti or even Rio as a place on nearly everyone's must-see-in-a-lifetime list.
Then came the Asian currency crises; the fall of long-time strongman Soharto, ethnic riots, volcanoes and bombs, all of which took their toll on tourism and commerce. Time has passed and Bali - in a similar way to Phuket's handling of its own crises such as the tsunami and plane crash Phase erased much of the damage to its reputation and appeal to visitors.
For market comparables, Phuket has experienced a medium-term growth spurt over the past 10 years, and now sees its hotel inventory close to the 40,000-hotel-room mark with more than 600 properties. Bali , by comparison, has over 20,000 hotel rooms with close to 200 properties.
Based on tourist arrivals, Phuket in 2007 surpassed the five million mark, while Bali came in at just above 3.5 million. Average annualized market wide occupancy for hotels traded roughly at the same bandwidth of 65 – 68 %.
Fundamentally, Bali is unlike Phuket, as there remain a large number of non-tracked tourism establishments in Bali , particularly individual luxury villas and smaller pool-villa estates that command premium room rates and trade premium rates compared to standard hotels.
Geographically Bali has seen movement over the years in much the same way as in Phuket, from the early tourist bungalows in Kuta and Sanur - one to the master-planned destination resorts of Nusa Dua ( Bali 's version of Laguna Phuket)
Today, premium developments such as the ultra-luxury Bvlgari resort have chosen the Bukid area due to the availability of larger tracts of land there. There is also a push to other parts of the island for emerging projects. Land, as always, is a significant part of the overall development scenario. With many of these projects now being mixed-developments or hotels with either investment units or residential villa estates, sheer size matters; hence a shift in new products offered within these micro markets.
Driving around Bali after being in Phuket - or any other popular Asian destination,