Image: Jalan Oberoi around sunset last week. Credit: SWD.

While Bali’s tourism industry is now right down in the dumps, with close to zero tourists on the island due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Putu Astawa, has stated that they will not allow tourism to stay down for too long. He told the press this morning, Thursday (9/4) that the government has now prepared three strategies to find our way back to normal.

For now, we remain at the first stage, with the government continuing to implement their present emergency response to the pandemic. This includes carrying out the mitigation and care of COVID-19 patients in hospitals on the island. The socializing and education of the public regarding COVID-19 prevention; the applying of social and physical distancing, the use of masks for all and especially those who are sick or when outside the home, and implementing a ‘be clean and healthy’ policy.

The second stage is recovery. “We predict, and hope that by June the recovery phase would have begun,” he surmised.

The recovery phase, continued Astawa, would begin when the COVID-19 cases had begun to fall dramatically. Promotional efforts would then be restarted. At least for domestic tourists in the beginning. It is thought that foreign tourists will need more time for promotion.

“After passing the recovery stage, we will then start the third strategy, namely, normalization,” he continued.

“Our estimate is that by September or October, we can start towards the normalization stage. So we can invite foreign ambassadors, consul generals to witness that Bali is safe to be visited,” he said.

It is estimated that Bali receives approx. Rp 150 trillion per annum from the tourism industry. The island began losing 50 percent of tourists in March. If April has near to zero visitors, the estimated loses of foreign exchange will be up to Rp 18 trillion in just March-April alone, said Astawa.

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