Officials launch another ‘We Love Bali’ program to promote tourism amid COVID-19 pandemic

Tourists watching a performance in Bali, pre-pandemic. Photo: Unsplash
Tourists watching a performance in Bali, pre-pandemic. Photo: Unsplash

In the latest bid to revive the local economy and tourism sector in Bali, government officials yesterday announced an upcoming program aimed at raising awareness on health protocols and promoting the popular holiday destination, titled “We Love Bali.” 

We love Bali. We do. And there’s no doubt that a lot of people do, too. We just can’t help but wonder if promoting tourism as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on and with Bali reporting a significant surge in coronavirus cases since the start of this month is the best course of action. 

Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you may recall a similar tagline adopted by the Bali provincial government earlier this year for a movement that was intended to lessen the blow on the local economy as the coronavirus outbreak impacted the global tourism industry, at a time when Bali still had zero COVID-19 cases. 

This week, officials from the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy and Bali Tourism Agency announced that the We Love Bali program will take place for two months starting October, wherein around 4,400 people will be invited to get involved. 

Participants, whose age ranges between 18 and 50 years old, will be facilitated with accommodation, food, transportation, and even rapid tests, among other things. They will be divided into groups as they travel across different parts of Bali, and are expected to come from different segments of society, including travel agencies, college students, photographers and influencers. 

According to Bisnis, participants must be active on social media, and those with more than 2,000 followers and have a penchant for outdoor activities will be prioritized. A budget of IDR20billion (US$1.35million) has reportedly been allocated for the program. It is not immediately clear how officials will be selecting the participants. 

“All participants, aside from evaluating CHSE protocol, will also be asked to promote Bali’s ‘new era’ of tourism to the public through their social media accounts by posting about the places they visit,” Rizky Handayani, a ministry deputy for tourism products and events, said.

CHSE refers to the protocol program launched by the ministry, which focuses on cleanliness, health, safety and the environment.  

“This is an important event to do so that Bali tourism can revive,” I Putu Astawa, who heads Bali Tourism Agency, said. 

Bali has taken the biggest economic hit in Indonesia from the COVID-19 pandemic. The province reopened to tourism at the end of July, but has notably reported a surge in coronavirus cases since the start of this month. With 130 additional daily cases reported today, the provincial tally now stands at 8,126.

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