Mixed views by Bali businesses as island restarts domestic tourism tomorrow

An aerial view of a beach in Bali. Photo: Unsplash
An aerial view of a beach in Bali. Photo: Unsplash

Bali is set to reopen its doors to domestic tourists tomorrow, but despite brewing optimism from the Indonesian government to finally restart tourism on the island after months of relative inactivity, businesses appear to have mixed views about the plan.

“The question is, where will the money come from? My hotel was closed completely, but I still had expenses to sustain my employees, especially to pay their salary. It would’ve been impossible if it weren’t for savings,” Rainier H Daulay, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), said today.

“The company’s savings may have been enough for two months, but up until now the owner’s money has been used. Do all owners have savings? That’s not the case for everyone.”

Indonesia closed its borders back in April, following global travel restrictions imposed to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. Tomorrow’s reopening will only target domestic tourists, while officials said tentative plans are in place to reopen to foreign tourists on Sept. 11. 

The private sector has concerns about the operational cost that businesses, especially hotels, would have to bear should they choose to reopen, while the number of potential guests are still uncertain amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Rainier said.  

On the other hand, a 33-year-old Balinese hostel owner in Ubud, who goes by the name Nick, said that the little jungle town is “more than ready” to receive tourists, noting that his business has been hit hard for the past several months and that cases are relatively low in the area. As of yesterday, Ubud only has three active COVID-19 cases. 

However, he told Coconuts Bali that he has yet to receive any official briefing on crucial health protocols. 

“Actually there has been nothing like that, briefing or the likes, for hostels we don’t have that yet,” Nick said.  

Meanwhile, Bali recorded 61 additional COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the provincial total to 3,310. The highest number of cases have been recorded in Denpasar city at 1,282. 

Read Also Indonesian influencers promote ‘new travel habits’ with Bali set to reopen domestic tourism on July 31

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