Indonesian gov’t plans to move state meetings to Bali to curtail impact of coronavirus outbreak on tourism

Beachgoers at Batu Bolong Beach. Photo: Coconuts Media
Beachgoers at Batu Bolong Beach. Photo: Coconuts Media

As the impacts of COVID-19 outbreak ripple across the global tourism industry, the Indonesian government is reportedly working on a contingency plan as part of an attempt to curtail the blow, including on Bali’s economy. 

“We have held two meetings with the President [Joko Widodo] in regards to contingency plans to tackle the coronavirus. It’s not just one, but multiple steps. We are also hoping that promotion of Bali in other countries and markets will be intensified,” Anak Agung Gede Ngurah Ari Dwipayana, a coordinator of the presidential expert staff, told CNN Indonesia yesterday.

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Ari said that the plan might involve moving state meetings, which would ordinarily be held in the capital Jakarta, to the Island of the Gods, while also facilitating the discount of flight tickets for domestic tourists. The plan would also include other popular destinations in Indonesia, including North Sulawesi and Riau Islands. 

“We’re still discussing this, and working based on the president’s instruction. We’re looking for the best strategy to attract more tourists to visit Bali and other destinations,” Ari added. 

Last week, the Bali Tourism Board said that the island is expected to lose IDR1 trillion (US$73 million) per month, following the temporary ban imposed on flights to and from mainland China and the subsequent cancellations of hotel bookings in Bali, which number at around 40,000. 

In the first two weeks of February, Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport observed around 16 percent decline in tourists arrival, with about 739,000 total number of tourists. 

As of this morning, COVID-19 has killed more than 2,000 people and infected nearly 80,000. Indonesia has yet to confirm a single case of the disease in the country. 

Also read – Health Ministry waiting on official reports of Japanese COVID-19 patient entering Indonesia

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