Bali economy among hardest hit in Indonesia amid COVID-19 pandemic

People working in a paddy field in Bali. Photo: Pixabay
People working in a paddy field in Bali. Photo: Pixabay

Bali’s economy is among the hardest hit in Indonesia amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with the country’s central bank reporting an economic slowdown of 1.14 percent in the province for the first quarter of this year. 

“Bali’s economic slowdown of 1.14 percent is among the steepest in Indonesia, along with Yogyakarta which is also seeing quite a steep economic slowdown,” Trisno Nugroho, who heads the Bali office of Bank Indonesia (BI), said during a virtual conference yesterday

He cited the massive decline in tourism in Bali in recent months as the main reason behind the slowdown, which not only saw a huge drop in foreign tourist arrivals but also various cancellations of national and international events that commonly take place on the island. 

“MICE [Meeting, Incentive, Convention, and Exhibition] tourism has had a huge impact on Bali because the expenses [from those events] are about sevenfold of individual tourism,” Trisno continued. 

According to Rizki Ernadi Wimanda, deputy chief of BI’s Bali office, tourism contributes between 54 to 58 percent to the province’s economy. 

BI said that data from Jan. 1 to May 5 showed a decline of 44.23 percent among foreign tourist arrivals and 35.27 percent for domestic tourists. Furthermore, a recent survey on the impacts of COVID-19 among businesses and the workforce in Bali showed that 94 percent of respondents have been affected by the pandemic, and 28 percent of them were forced to close down their businesses. 

“The types of businesses that are still able to operate normally are in the processing and farming industries,” Rizki said. 

According to the latest data from Bali’s Manpower Agency, nearly 70,000 formal workers in Bali have been furloughed and more than 2,400 were laid off. 

Also Read – Bali sees US$9 billion loss as tourism decline amid COVID-19 pandemic

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