The tourism sector on the island of Bali (Indonesia) has relied on domestic travelers since the government closed the borders at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this approach has not been sufficient to sustain the "smoke-free industry," particularly the accommodation facilities.
Tourism in Bali has relied on local travelers over the past months. The number of trips by domestic tourists increased by 19.81% to 8.61 million in 2020, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data. During the same period, foreign arrivals at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport fell by 83% to 1.05 million.
The increase in domestic arrivals can be attributed largely to people temporarily relocating to Bali while office occupancy in Jakarta and elsewhere has been reduced to stem the pandemic. The Ministry of Tourism invented the Work-from-Bali initiative and the government has chosen Bali for many events to support tourism to this island.
Overall in Indonesia, the number of domestic tourists fell by 28.19% to 518.58 million in 2021. The number of foreign visitors fell by 74.84% to 4.05 million.
While tourism in Bali has brought substantial income to the island, the finance minister of Indonesia, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, has asked Bali to develop industries beyond the tourism sector. Sri Mulyani suggested that the Bali provincial government should start developing another industry, such as agriculture, to support its economy.
“Bali has great potential with its Subak irrigation system and land potential for organic farming. These can help revive the economy during the pandemic,” Sri Mulyani said.
She reminded Bali to use the pandemic as a lesson to stop relying on one source of income. She also said that Bali needed to develop its Small and Medium Businesses, which the central government plans to support by offering loans, interest rate subsidies, and technical assistance to the participants.