Bali's Tourism Industry Slowly Recovering from COVID-19 Impact

Bali's tourism industry shows signs of recovery, with hotel occupancy rates and foreign tourist numbers increasing, though challenges remain. The government's new tourist tax aims to preserve the island's culture.

Dil Bar Irshad
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Bali's Tourism Industry Slowly Recovering from COVID-19 Impact

Bali's Tourism Industry Slowly Recovering from COVID-19 Impact

Bali, a popular tourist destination known for its thriving culture and stunning beaches, is gradually recovering from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its tourism industry. According to the chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Travel Agents Association (Asita), 153 out of 453 Asita members are still closed, indicating that the tourism sector has not fully bounced back.

The majority of the closed travel agencies are those that cater to the Chinese market, which has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. Asita is seeking government support to protect its member travel agencies, such as ensuring they have access to discounted entrance fees at tourist attractions in Bali and are included in promotional efforts both domestically and internationally.

Despite the challenges, there are signs of recovery in Bali's tourism industry. Hotel occupancy rates during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in 2024 have shown growth compared to the previous year. PT Hotel Indonesia Group (HIG), a subsidiary of PT Hotel Indonesia Natour or InJourney Hospitality, reported a 15% increase in occupancy rates, with the highest rates recorded in the Javanese HIGH region and a 9% increase in the Bali region.

Economic observer Abdul Manap Pulungan notes that the weakening of the rupiah exchange rate against the US dollar has not significantly affected the increase in foreign tourist visits to Bali, as the potential for more expensive costs at hotels, food, and tickets due to fuel costs is compensating for it. However, he advises tourism business actors to gradually adjust their tariffs to avoid shocking consumers.

The number of foreign tourists in Bali reached 5.27 million in 2023, a 144% increase compared to 2022, and the number of foreign tourists visiting until February 2024 increased by 33.5% compared to the same period in 2023. Bank Indonesia is intervening in the market to maintain the stabilization of the rupiah exchange rate.

Bali's tourism industry is an essential contributor to Indonesia's economy, and its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has far-reaching implications for the livelihoods of many Balinese people and the country's overall economic growth. The gradual return of foreign tourists and the implementation of supportive measures by the government and tourism stakeholders are vital steps towards revitalizing this key sector.

As Bali continues to traverse the challenges posed by the pandemic, maintaining its special hospitality, culture, and attractive nature remains crucial. The Bali government has announced a new 150,000 rupiah (about S$13) tax for foreign tourists entering Bali starting from 2024 to help preserve the island's culture. With the number of foreign tourists visiting Bali showing promising growth, the tourism industry is cautiously optimistic about the future, while remaining mindful of the need to adapt to the changing landscape and prioritize the well-being of local communities.

Key Takeaways

  • Bali's tourism industry gradually recovering from COVID-19 impact, 153 of 453 Asita members still closed
  • Chinese market has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, Asita seeks govt support for member agencies
  • Hotel occupancy rates during Eid al-Fitr 2024 showed growth, with highest rates in Javanese HIGH region
  • Foreign tourist arrivals in Bali increased 144% in 2023 and 33.5% in early 2024 vs 2023
  • Bali to introduce 150,000 rupiah tax for foreign tourists from 2024 to preserve island's culture