Bali is among the hardest hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has put global travels to a halt since March.
Indonesia’s most popular tourism destination, globally famous for its preserved culture and home to beautiful beaches and ancient temples amid a myriad of hype night clubs, is ranked in the bottom of 34 provinces after its economy shrank by 10.8 percent in the second quarter.
The tourism sector accounts for around 80 percent of the province’s revenue sources and almost all of its labor force work in the business. The impact of the pandemic is more devastating in Bali than in any other area in the archipelago.
Since April, foreign tourists have left Bali. Hotel occupancy rate in August hit a new low at only 3.68%, in comparison to 67% in the same month last year. The economic impact is felt not only by hotel owners or resort managers, but also their employees and those working in supply chains of the business. They all must quickly adapt to the new condition and fight together to survive.
Comparing the pandemic to the aftermath of the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005, Tjokorda said the decreasing number of visits was the same but that in 2002 and 2005 the economy was still able to run as big businesses bore the brunt of the losses. “The informal sectors were still running. Now it’s different.” According to Indonesian Tourist Industry Association (GIPI) data, Bali had recorded an 11 percent increase in foreign tourist arrivals in January.
However, the number dropped 18 percent in February after flights from China were cancelled. The number then dropped 42.32 percent in March, as countries in Europe as well the United Kingdom and South Korea restricted flights to Bali.
In April, the decrease was even more drastic, with foreign tourist arrivals down 93.24 percent. All in all, the potential losses experienced by the tourism and meeting, incentives, conferencing and exhibition (MICE) sectors in Bali are estimated to be more than Rp 9 billion (US$628,367).
The Bali provincial government has moved swiftly in response to the international outbreak of the novel coronavirus and its subsequent impact on the global tourism industry, with the recent launch of the “We Love Bali” movement aiming to lessen the blow on the local economy. “We have made sure that up until this point, there are no COVID-19 [cases] in Bali. With our increasingly improving experience and support system, we can guarantee that Bali remains a safe, comfortable and most interesting destination to visit,” Koster said on Friday.
The administration’s We Love Bali movement comprises several programs, including tour packages and plans for a variety of festivals ranging from culinary and music to a surfing competition and even a marathon. In addition, the provincial government will be supporting familiarization trips, in which travel writers, YouTube personalities, bloggers, and so-called influencers will be invited to further campaign the We Love Bali movement
As Indonesia’s ban on international tourist arrivals remains in place until at least the end of the year, Bali’s provincial government is attempting to boost its domestic sector and revive the local economy through a campaign titled We Love Bali. Funded by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy to the tune of 20 billion Rupiah (US$1.34 million), up to 4,400 participants aged between 18 and 50 will join the two-month program, which begins this month.
Participants will be made up of tour operators, travel writers, photographers, lecturers, students, civil servants, travel enthusiasts and social media influencers. All participants are expected to share their trips on social media and have at least 2,000 followers. Each group will comprise 40 participants travelling in two buses, and a non-reactive rapid test conducted no more than three days prior to departure must be shown by each participant.
Twelve different three-day, two-night travel routes have been scheduled, with each taking in five to six destinations. Popular areas such as Nusa Dua, Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur and Ubud will be on some itineraries, along with lesser-known regions such as Trunyan, Plaga, Kerambitan, Lovina and Menjangan. Local micro, small and medium enterprises will be invited to sell souvenirs to participants at each stop. Along with providing a much needed boost to the local economy—which is Indonesia’s hardest hit by the pandemic—a major motive for the programme is evaluating compliance with cleanliness, health, safety and environment protocols across the destinations and participating accommodation providers.
The program is aimed at boosting the island’s travel and creative economy industries and, at the same time, giving Bali’s tourism industry a positive image. “The We Love Bali program is expected to educate the public about the implementation of health protocols based on CHSE,” said Wishnutama during the launch, explaining that the program would involve 409 participants from tourism and creative economy industries, 8,421 employees and 4,800 individuals. The minister hoped that the campaign would help to develop safety awareness in the minds of tourism stakeholders and travelers.
In addition to launching the We Love Bali program, the Tourism Ministry also plans to set aside Rp 119 billion (US$8 million) to provide free CHSE certification for businesses across Indonesia. The certificate is intended to help regain tourists’ trust in travel. “Travel businesses, hotel managements and restaurant owners can immediately improve their preparations in cleanliness, health and safety protocol implementation in accordance with the government’s COVID-19 health protocols [through the program],” he said.
Tourism is the beating heart of Bali’s economy as around 60 percent of the island’s gross regional product comes from this sector. Unfortunately, the tourism industry is also one of the sectors hardest-hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Bali Tourism Agency, the island had lost an estimated Rp 48.5 trillion (US$3.33 billion) in tourism revenue between March and July. Bali reopened to tourists in August, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Cleanliness and safety are among the major concerns for travelers before deciding to go on a trip during a pandemic.
Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Asia Pacific territory director Paul Tosh Tanner said last month that while tourists had held back from visiting Indonesia’s diving spots, particularly in Bali, due to border closures, health and safety played a substantial role in their future travel intentions. “People will come to Indonesia once they know they are safe. Before, people were looking for adventures and risk-taking, now, families and independent travelers are looking for something safe,” Tanner said during a broadcast event called Indonesia Dive Tourism Market Updates 2020.
Head of the Bali Tourism Agency Putu Astawa narrated a video further promoting this “movement,” featuring scenes from the Sanur Harbor, where tourists take fast boats to cross over to either Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan island, to showcase that tourists are still visiting the islands. “It appears that they are not worried of the spread of the coronavirus, [tourism] is still going on as normal, and they seem to understand about existing cases, efforts to anticipate, mitigate and prevent [infection] and so they are feeling more at ease,” Astawa said in the video. “We hope that tourists from around the world will still come visit Bali, there’s no need for excessive worrying, the most important thing is that we keep our stamina so that we’re always fit and the virus will not easily infect us,” he continued. The government said it is prepared to handle potential cases of COVID-19, with a special team assigned in accordance with standards laid out by the World Health Organization (WHO), Koster said.
Here are some updates about what is currently going on in Bali in terms of your arrival during this COVID – 19 pandemics. Every passenger arriving in Bali be in domestic or Internationally must complete the eHAC card.
Check with your airline for any other requirements that the airline may apply. For those entering Indonesia and or flying domestic flights within Indonesia, you are required to fill a Health Alert Card from the Indonesian Ministry of Health. It is no longer possible to fill in manually, therefore we suggest using E-HAC (Electronic Health Alert Card) that can be accessed on Indonesian Ministry of Health official web or you can also install the E-HAC app on your smartphone.
E-HAC filling can be done before you travel, during the departure or during the arrival process before the Port Health Authority (KKP) checkpoint. For domestic flights, on some airports, passengers are required to go through a Health Certificate verification & validation process by Health Port Authority or local authorities.
For flights departing from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK), the verification & validation process will be done by Soekarno-Hatta Health Port Authority at Gate 3 Terminal 3 building.