Retirees eye Bali lifestyle
WHILE Bali is one of Australia’s most popular destinations for a quick and cheap tropical getaway, developers are increasingly banking on Australians wanting to stay there a little longer.
With an ageing population resulting in record numbers of Australians approaching retirement age, our northern neighbour is emerging as an alternative for people looking to maintain their quality of life throughout retirement while saving money.
Sentosa Worldwide Resorts chief executive Ian Duffell said it was a travel trend that has been seen in Europe for decades, with the British in particular turning annual holidays in Mediterranean hot spots such as Spain into permanent stays when they retire.
However, he said it was a relatively new concept among Australians, but it was one he expected to see increase as Australians are told to rely less on their pensions and live longer on their savings. While the eligibility age for Australia’s pension remains 65, Treasurer Joe Hockey last month backed moves by the British Government to hike the state pension age to 70 for those now aged under 30.
He said Australia should consider doing the same.
“When people start to think of retirement, the question is how and where,” Duffell said.
“A lot of people are already moving to Bali for the lifestyle and we decided there was an opportunity for the over 55s.”
Nearly one million Australians visited Indonesia last year, with the majority heading to Bali.
Sentosa Worldwide Resorts manages luxury properties across Indonesia, including Sentosa Seminyak where Schapelle Corby stayed after her recent release.
It is in the process of building the Sentosa Residence Umalas, a residential enclave for retirees and those nearing retirement.
Sentosa Residence Umalas will offer a mix of one, two and three-bedroom villas ranging from $US200,000 ($A220,290).
It’s scheduled for completion by the end of next year and Duffell said it would offer other facilities including 24-hour medical care, a supermarket, a communal bar and pool and outdoor cinema.
Additional services will be available for an annual fee.
Duffell said Bali presented itself as an ideal retirement option as it’s only about a twohour flight from Darwin and relatively close to other major Australian cities.
He said Australians could also get a long-term visa to live in Bali provided they can prove their ability to support themselves, and the cost of living is far lower than in Australia.
The idea of turning Bali into a retirement hub for older Australians follows its growing popularity as a place to live for Australians involved in fly-in, fly-out jobs.
Duffell said it was an idea that could also work in other parts of Asia, such as Thailand.
According to Matthew Upchurch, the chief executive of luxury travel network Virtuoso, retirees are becoming an influential travel demographic. He said they considered travel to be “a right” and increasingly viewed the period after stopping work as a time for them to see more of the world, rather than to slow down.
Upchurch said travel companies, cruise lines and resorts were constantly looking for new ways in which to cater to the retiree market, and this had led to the development of new products.
TROPICAL RETREAT: Nearly one million Australians visited Indonesia last year, with the majority drawn to Bali and its beautiful temples like Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Water temple.