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Bali the No.1 destination for Australian tourists despite rising death rate

AUSTRALIA’s favourite overseas holiday destination is also one of the deadliest, with 48 Aussies losing their lives in Bali in the last year, or one death every eight days.

Figures provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also showed 118 Australians fell ill or were admitted to hospital in Bali, and 20 were arrested in the year to June 30.

The deaths included those of Noelene Bischoff and her daughter Yvana, 14, who died from a rare form of food poisoning in January.

And last August, legendary surfboard shaper Allan Byrne died after a motorbike crash.

The number of Australians losing their lives in Bali - from either misadventure, natural causes or foul play, has increased steadily since 2011-12, when 39 people died.

But the Indonesian island’s dangerous reputation has proven no deterrent to Aussie travellers who have made Bali our top choice for an overseas holiday.

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Statistics based on hotel bookings, show Bali came from fourth on the Hotels.comindex last year to claim the top spot in the first six months of 2014.

The 2013 favourite, New York City in the US, was relegated to second.

It is the first time since the index was compiled in 2007 that Bali has topped the list.

Singapore held its position as our third favourite international destination, followed by London which slipped to fourth from second, and Paris — up three places from eighth to fifth.

Australians’ love affair with Bali has not only weathered the 2002 terrorist bombings, but a reputation for crime, poor safety standards and a hard line approach to drug possession.

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DFAT’s official travel advisory warns travellers to exercise a high degree of caution, and to be aware of rough seas and strong currents, bag snatchings and the risk of road crashes when riding motorcycles.

However Australian Federation of Travel Agents CEO Jayson Westbury said it was not surprising to see Bali in the No.1 spot.

“It’s probably fair to say that Australians tend to stay for longer (in Bali), putting down roots for seven or even 14 nights,” said Mr Westbury.

“As an island, there’s been some significant investment — beautiful new resorts and some substantial new infrastructure.”

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But Mr Westbury said Bali tourist officials still had some work to do to attract “premium” visitors to their island.

“It’s all well and good to develop the top end $1000 a night accommodation but there’s still a bit of a misfire as far as the supporting infrastructure is concerned,” he said.

“Serious leisure travellers don’t want to be locked in a hotel, they want to get a decent taxi, they want the roads to look right, and they want good hospital care if the need arises.”

Source: http://www.news.com.au/national/bali-the-no1-destination-for-australian-tourists-despite-rising-death-rate/story-e6frfkp9-1227028462330