Bali back in investors' sights
It took Bali about a year to lure back tourists and investors after the terrorist bomb attack in 2002, according to property consultants.
Property prices in south Bali, which attracts foreign investors, increased by 15 to 20 per cent last year, said Hanno Soth, chairman of Hanno Bali, a developer and resort owner.
He said potential visitors had over the past two years opted instead for destinations such as Phuket.
'The island lost its innocence after the bomb,' he said, but it had transformed itself with new construction of restaurants and new villas to attract buyers.
'They are now coming back to the island [because] there is no other place like it in the world. Bali is booming after the bomb [attack] and making a comeback like no one expected,' he said.
Knight Frank said Bali had recovered from a slump to almost a property recovery in less than 14 months.
A typical villa in Semniyak in Bali costs US$150,000 to US$500,000. Taking Bali as a reference, property agents said Phuket stood a good chance of having a fast-paced recovery.
Stephen O'Brien, managing director at Knight Frank in Phuket, said that, unlike a terrorist attack, a tsunami was not callously planned but was considered a one-off event.
'The [Phuket] market will be more forgiving in this respect,' he said.
During the Sars outbreak, many investors and tourists stayed in Phuket villas.