The Bali Tourism Board have confirmed plans to reopen hotels on the island for domestic travellers by 15th May, with a view to welcoming back international visitors as early as June 2020.
When commenting on a potential date for reopening Bali’s hotels, Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, who is Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board, said: “information from the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) was at its peak in June. So we have hope for May-June.”
The Chairman was directing his comments to members of Indonesia’s Online Travel Agent (OTA) sector; a business ecosystem offering online travel services to both domestic and international tourists, and one that has grown by 20% year-on-year since 2015. For hoteliers, OTA is an essential tool for attracting guests and processing bookings.
Agung Partha has highlighted collaboration with OTA groups as essential to Indonesia’s recovery from COVID-19, placing an emphasis on domestic re-growth first, followed by a return to international bookings thereafter. The Chairman has conceded that the latest projections depend on circumstances surrounding the virus, and may need to be pushed back as the global situation demands. He suggested July-August as a secondary window for reopening, in the event of further cases of transmission in Bali. Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, I Putu Astawa, offered a more positive estimate for the return of international tourists, presenting June as his estimate.
As a result of COVID-19, international visitors to Indonesia slumped to just 885,000 in February 2020; a drop of 28.85% and the lowest total number of monthly arrivals in nearly four years. Bali, which is Indonesia’s prime tourism location, did not fall quite so far, but still felt the effects of the pandemic, with arrivals tumbling by 17.9% to 358,200 people in February. As many countries worldwide have imposed travel restrictions, tourism figures have since dwindled to a virtual standstill.
The latest news from the Bali Tourism Board comes as a welcome relief; the first signs that Bali and Indonesia are beginning to emerge from the shadow of coronavirus. It is hoped that current trends continue through the spring, and Indonesia will begin to see green shoots in its tourism sector in time for summer.