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Paradise reopened – Bali hopes for tourists to return

Paradise reopened – Bali hopes for tourists to return

Paradise reopened – Bali hopes for tourists to return

Paradise reopened – Bali hopes for tourists to return. (credits: Google)

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  • Bali’s tourism minister has set a target of 1.5 million foreign visitors overall in 2022.
  • The island’s streets, which were filled with tourists are still unsettlingly quiet.
  • Villa rental prices have now nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to Vijay.
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237,710 foreign visitors arrived in Bali in May, up from 114,684 the previous month but only half as many as in the same month in 2019. The modest target established by Indonesia’s tourism minister is for Bali to get 1.5 million foreign visitors overall in 2022.

Back in February, Mr. Kriss impatiently awaited the arrival from Singapore of the first foreign passenger flight in 24 months.

The foreigner, who owns a digital marketing and web design company serving the neighbourhood tourism sector, even videotaped the occasion on his phone. He shared the optimism of many Bali residents, especially after the island abandoned quarantine regulations for foreign tourists in March.

He claims there’s no need for celebration, though, given the computer screens in his home office display the most recent visitor statistics.

Bali won’t return to its pre-coronavirus population levels for at least ten years, predicts Mr. Kriss.

He thinks that a perfect storm of the conflict in Ukraine, high global inflation, and residual worries over Covid-19 makes it difficult for foreign tourists to travel to more isolated locations like Bali.

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Driving through the once-bustling tourist hubs of Kuta, Seminyak, and Nusa Dua, where tourism makes up more than 60% of the island’s economy, one can instantly see Covid’s influence.

Numerous tourist-related establishments, including pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, stores, and villas, are vacant or deserted; some have even been taken over by the island’s all-pervasive jungle flora. And the streets, which were previously filled with tourists from Australia, Asia, and Europe, are still unsettlingly quiet.

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In April, Made Suryani reopened her little souvenir shop adjacent to the Club Med Beach resort in Nusa Dua, despite the fact that the majority of the other stores around are still closed.

She claims that before to Covid, a successful month would see her earning more over two million rupiah ($140; £116). That was a little less than Bali’s minimum salary for workers.

“I now occasionally earn 50,000 rupiah every week. I borrowed money from family to get by, and I have no idea how I’ll be able to repay them “she claims.

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The area where some of the island’s best restaurants once stood at the shopping and dining complex Bali Collection in Nusa Dua is now gated off and empty. About 80% of the remaining flats are still vacant.

A crafts and jewellery store owner in the complex, Kiran Vijay, claims that “most of these enterprises are gone for good.”

The site’s management, according to him, has been quite accommodating, enabling renters to remain rent-free for the majority of the past two years.

However, Mr. Vijay notes that the number of tourists has decreased from as many as 5,000 per day prior to the pandemic to just a few hundred now. He continues, “They’re going to have to dramatically decrease rents to entice new tenants.”

Still, there are some promising signs. Areas like Canggu, Ubud, and Uluwatu continue to thrive thanks to the island of Bali’s 110,000-strong expat population, which is made up largely of digital nomads, yogis, and surfers. Villa rental prices have now nearly returned to pre-Covid levels.

Additionally, reservations at Bali’s five-star resorts are surprisingly solid, and high-end hotels are experiencing a significant increase in demand. However, the vast majority of these visitors come from within Indonesia, notably from Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, and the capital Jakarta.

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Many of these would have thought Bali was too pricey before Covid-19. But now that foreigners are temporarily out of the picture, Indonesian citizens can benefit from unique offers like free helicopter flights and discounted rates that are only available on Indonesian travel booking websites.

However, many hotel employees continue to labour for lower pay, with some earning as little as 10% of pre-pandemic levels. However, they and the resorts would prefer some money than none.

In the meanwhile, a large number of hotel staff members and other hospitality workers who had been fired at the beginning of the lockdowns returned to their hometown villages to work on the land owned by their families. Thus, despite predictions from some pundits that Bali would experience turmoil during the pandemic, life on the island continued as usual thanks to strong familial ties and Hindu culture.

Businesses might temporarily stop operating without worrying about bank foreclosure because most properties in Bali are bought entirely for cash.

Advantage Travel Partnership, a group that represents independent travel agents in the UK, is led by Julia Lo Bue-Said. Despite the fact that long-distance travel from the UK to places like Bali has taken longer to recover than vacations in Europe, she claims that “the appetite is there and growing.”

In spite of the cost-of-living crisis, people are still ready to explore, travel, and have something to look forward to, creating lifelong memories. Long haul will have a considerable growth in the coming 12 to 18 months.

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With enough time, Mr. Kriss is confident that Bali will regain its previous splendour. He claims that the natural beauty and the amicable, tolerant spirit of the Balinese people simply give too much.

He asserts that Bali “will bounce back powerful as ever.” “I’m confident about it. Balinese people are patient and optimistic, and they hold a strong belief in karma. It can take years.”

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