Balinese Economy Likely to Improve as International Tourism Set to Restart Soon
The coronavirus pandemic has left the Balinese economy completely shattered as nearly 60% of its revenues came from tourism. Ever since the island was closed to tourists, local business owners have been dealing with many difficulties to stay afloat. The easing of lockdown in capital Denpasar last month offered little relief to the markets and local businesses.
In a recently made announcement, the Governor of Bali — I Wayan Koster said that the island’s borders will be reopened for international tourists on September 11. Also, he has signed a new decree associated to the “New Era of Life Order Protocol” which regulates the reopening of the Balinese economy.
Koster made the announcement after the worship of Pemahayu Jagad in Pura Besakih where a mass prayer was performed to ask for the permission, guidance, blessing and protection of God. After the prayer, he said, “For this reason, we surrender completely and sincerely, while pleading with Him to be pleased to give the best gift to all of us”.
As per the decree, the Balinese economy will be reopened in three phases. It is only in the third phase that tourism will be restarted. Under the direction of the National Task Force for the Acceleration of Handling Covid-19, the first stage starting July 9, will see the resumption of government offices, transportation, trade, traditional markets, restaurants and stalls, agriculture, fisheries and construction activities.
In the second phase starting July 31, the island will reopen domestic tourism. As Indonesian tourists start travelling to Bali again, the Balinese economy will witness a hike. The third phase, starting September 11 will see the island opening officially for international tourists. As of now, the authorities have not released details of whether testing will be mandatory or travellers from all the countries will be welcomed.
As the worship ceremony neared ending, Koster stated, “I ask all Bali manners to carry out activities in these three stages by applying the New Era of Life Order Protocol in an orderly, disciplined, and with a full sense of responsibility, such as: always wearing a mask / face shield, keeping a distance, not crowding, diligently washing hands, and Clean and Healthy Behavior, as well as maintaining endurance”.
After opening two beaches Canggu and Padang Padang, the Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry claims that post easing the travel bans, Bali will be the main location for the Ministry’s Cleanliness, Health and Safety (CHS) program. The program will be run all over the island’s top travel destinations in order to adjust to the “new normal”. During the Indonesia Tourism Forum teleconference on May 15, Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha said, “In the context of Bali, I don’t call it the new normal, I call it the new era of Bali, which will change the paradigm of tourism in the future.”
Authority records state that death rate from coronavirus is low and so the Balinese economy can be opened gradually. Putting forth a clear vision about the future of tourism industry, Koster said, “We must continue to do our best to deal with COVID-19, while at the same time we must begin to carry out activities for the sake of community life. These activities must be carried out gradually, selectively, and be limited by implementing the new era of life order protocol for productive and safe COVID-19 communities.”