Indonesia’s tourism revenue in a bind as three sports events get the axe

Indonesia’s efforts to gain tourism volume and revenue from sports tourism have fallen through as three international events are cancelled this year.

Bali was set to host the second edition of the World Beach Games 2023 in August, but Indonesia withdrew from the World Beach Games as well as the ANOC General Assembly due to a budget shortage.

Indonesia withdrawing from the World Beach Games 2023 has affected hotels in Bali, namely Seminyak, Kuta, and Nusa Dua, pictured

The decision at such a late hour caught the organising body off guard. The cancellation comes three months after football’s world governing body, FIFA, stripped Indonesia of its rights to host the Under-20 Men’s World Cup (U-20 World Cup) this year.

Fate of the 2024 World Super Bike is also unclear; the organiser has revealed funding woes after the government decided not to continue with its financial support.

Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s minister of tourism and creative economy has estimated a potential foreign exchange loss of US$16.2 million due to these cancellations.

Fransiska Handoko, chairman Bali Hotel Association (BHA), said the loss of the World Beach Games would hurt the tourism industry the most.

“With the Games scheduled to take place in a month’s time, the late notification makes it difficult for hotels to fill rooms that participants and delegates would have taken,” she explained.

According to BHA data, most of the hotels appointed by the World Beach Games 2023 have lost more than 1,000 rooms a night. Bookings for meeting rooms and ballrooms that were secured for activities related to the General Assembly of the National Olympic Committee Association were also cancelled. Hotels that were most affected were located in Nusa Dua, Seminyak and parts of Kuta.

Fransiska said: “Hotels have to work three times harder to cover losses because August is high season… and travellers usually book far in advance.”

Loss from the 2023 World Beach Games alone is estimated to be US$13.5 million, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. This calculation is based on the estimated 6,900 international visitors and the chain impact on publications revenue, employment opportunities, venue and hotel bookings, and transportation earnings.

Loss from FIFA U-20 is estimated at US$2.1 million, and World Super Bike 2024 at US$572,000.

Indonesia’s hopes of securing the Summer Olympics 2036 bid are dimmer as a result, opined Ndang Mawardi CEO of Inspiro Group.

However, Sandiaga promised to bring more events to Indonesia and expressed his administration’s continued commitment to ”assist associations in bidding on international events”.

To avoid future event cancellations due to financial woes, Ndang suggested that a new regulation should be in place to “lock up” tactical funds for organising international sporting events hosted by Indonesia.

Additionally, recurring events should only be funded by the government in the initial two years, and leave the promoters to take over after, added Ndang.

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