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Bali Grows Weary of Empty Promises

Private Sector in Bali Voices Displeasure with Promises of Recovery Programs that Go Nowhere, reports that various stakeholders in Bali’s tourism industry are appealing to the Government to stop making empty and false promises regarding the recovery of the Island’s tourism sector.

In the view of many tourism players, the Government has been the source of many ideas, strategies, and promised recovery plans to assist Bali’s recovery but has, sadly, fallen short in delivering tangible results.

Roma Pujawan, the spokesman for the Bali Housekeepers Association (IHKA), lamented on Tuesday, 01 June 2021: “Those of us on the ground and directly confronting the conditions created by the global pandemic have been the worst affected. Occupancy rates at hotels are disastrous, meaning that we as tourism practitioners suffer most from these false and empty promises. This failure was proven once again with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce Meeting (KADIN) cancellation in Bali. This has made us all very sad.”

Pujawan continued, saying tourism operators across the Island have been working hard to prepare for the KADIN assembly, believing the event signaled that economic recovery was on the horizon. At the same time, all of Bali has been implementing strict health protocols as everyone stand poised to work in “the new normal.” Adding: “We followed all the government guidelines in order for the economy to commence recovery and allow the people to survive. Health protocols are in place; vaccinations are well underway – what else must we do?”

Roma Pujawan called on the Government to pick and outline the path to economic recovery. He said when the economy improves, immunity to the coronavirus will improve, and even more, attention will be paid to public health. Similarly, Bali’s domestic and international flights must recommence using tight health protocols, including the option to quarantine in Bali.

He insisted that hotels in Bali were ready to receive domestic and international tourists and undertake quarantine procedures as required. Pajawan continued: “We hope that (the Government) does not only issues directives and recommendations but also provide clear solutions. We have followed all the instructions for the past 1.5 years, but our level of unemployment continues to increase, and public welfare is on the decline. We need some definite proof that the Government is doing something to rebuild tourism.”

The Indonesian Bartenders Association (HBI) chairman, Bayu Hendra, admonished the Government, saying that if fixed plans are already announced to reopen tourism borders, such plans should not suddenly be canceled.

“The Government should not continue to issue false hopes and promises. At the end of 2020, the Government canceled plans to reopen Bali for tourism over the Christmas and New Year’s period. If the same thing happens this July, I am certain that tourism’s recovery will be further delayed. If we are talking about the recovery of Bali’s tourism, any recovery will not be instantaneous but happen in phases over time,” said Hendra.

Meanwhile, the COO of Freshwater Asia, I Gusti Ngurah Darma Suyasa, said that the issue of “open borders” has become the shared concern of all parties. He said Bali has made every effort possible to persuade the Central Government that Bali is ready to open its borders. Adding: “The vaccination program proves how serious Bali is acting in preparation for open borders in July.”

Suyasa also cautioned that when Bali opens for tourism, it must do so as a whole and not on a zone-by-zone basis. Nonetheless, the initial steps to demarcate “green zones” should be supported to provide the initial impetus for Bali’s reopening of its borders.

“We remain convinced that Bali will reopen in July and will work in a coordinated manner to manage risks. Take a risk and manage it,” he asserted.

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