Bali on the road to tourism recovery

Bali is well on its way to economic recovery, according to governor Wayan Koster who spoke at the opening of Bali and Beyond Travel Fair 2023 last weekend – and tourism has been credited as a major contributor.

Bali’s economy had hit its lowest point in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a negative growth of 9.3 per cent. Things turned around in 1Q2023, with the regional economy recording a positive growth of 6.04 per cent, performing better than the national growth rate of 5.03 per cent.

Bali governor Wayan Koster (centre) at the opening of Bali and Beyond Travel Fair 2023

“More than 54 per cent of Bali’s economy depends on tourism; therefore, the recovery of tourism directly impacts Bali’s economy,” he said.

He added that international arrivals have improved, reaching more than two million by the end of the year as compared to just 500 in January 2022. With this, Bali has gained the “momentum to accelerate the growth of tourism”, he remarked, and urged continued tourism development in the destination that abides with government regulations while maintaining Bali’s culture-based, high-quality, and dignified tourism.

Koster said: “This requires the commitment of all stakeholders. I am also working towards tightening regulations regarding tourists’ inappropriate behaviour in Bali. ‌

“I am also intensively developing tourism infrastructure because the infrastructure in Bali is still far behind (that of) Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.”

Meanwhile, Vincent Jemadu, deputy of product development and MICE, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (MoTCE), has identified connectivity as one of the remaining challenges for tourism growth in Bali and Indonesia.

He said: “Domestic flights have only recovered 60 to 70 per cent of that in 2019, while international flight frequency is still below 50 per cent (of pre-pandemic levels). MoTCE is striving to restore flight frequencies because it is the key to (tourism) recovery.”

He revealed that some flights have earned the approval of the Ministry of Transportation for operation, and his team’s goal is to have at least 21 frequencies per week back from China, Japan, and South Korea.

Jemadu also shared that MoTCE plans on attracting more cruises to make port calls in Indonesia, as the country “should not only rely on airlines alone but also utilise other means of transportation”.

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