What is up, Bali?

The long holiday at the end of October made many people from all over the country visit Bali for vacation. This had raised concerns in several circles, particularly tourism entrepreneurs and the government. The dilemma situation arose, where many people have to go back to work to meet their needs.

However, on the other hand, they could have risked their lives because they made contact with the tourists who could be the carriers of the Covid-19 virus without symptoms. What’s more, Indonesia has experienced a spike in Covid-19 after a long holiday last July. But the good news is that after a few days since the holidays ended, Bali and Indonesia have not reported a significant increase in the number of new infections. The cure rate has now exceeded the number of daily infections (new cases). All parties still have to work hard to reduce the death rate.

While Bali has shown good progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season at the end of last October, nevertheless; all levels of society need to be aware of the possibility of the emergence of new Covid-19 clusters at tourist attractions. It was stated that almost all accommodation, restaurants and tourist attractions in Bali have successfully implemented the safe-travel protocol. This can be seen from the stable rate of daily new infections, deaths and cures in Bali. No need to worry too much, but of course we still have to comply with existing health protocols.

The implementation of strict health protocols plays a very important role in saving the tourism industry in Bali and Indonesia. The impeccable performance of health protocols at The Nusa Dua has been able to increase the confidence of tourists to visit during this pandemic; This can be seen from the significant development of room occupancy rates at ITDC. Several popular tourist spots in Bali also reported similar good news. Ulun Danu Bratan Temple in Bedugul, Tanah Lot Temple and Pandawa Beach recorded the highest number of visits in the past eight months. The Balinese government continues to encourage everyone to adhere to health protocols; Therefore, many officers were dispatched to guard the many checkpoints in various places. Those who are caught not wearing masks will be fined IDR 100,000 and perform push-ups or other sanctions.

And now, the Christmas and New Year holiday are now getting closer. For most Indonesians, the year end holiday of 2020 is felt to be longer than usual due to the Eid al-Fitr collective leave policy that has been moved to December due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In total there will be 11 national holidays, starting from December 24, 2020 to January 3, 2021. However, this is not certain due to the rumor that President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, advised his cabinet to study several possibilities for shortening the year-end holidays.

Meanwhile, one of the most popular Online Travel Agencies (OTA) in Indonesia Pegi-Pegi has conducted an online survey involving more than 1400 people to find out whether the public has planned a year-end vacation or not. The result is that more than 75% of respondents have plans to travel during the upcoming holidays.

Currently, the Provincial Government of Bali continues to encourage all tourism businesses to seriously implement the #safetravel campaign and register their hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions to get the new normal protocol certification. Governor Regulation Number 46 of 2020 is also still in effect, those who are caught not wearing masks in public will be subject to a fine of IDR 100,000 and business actors who violate the new normal provisions will be subject to a fine of IDR 1,000,000.

The latest data regarding Covid-19 As of Tuesday (25/11), there were 111 new infections in Bali, bringing the total cases to 13,442. The number of new recovered patients was 105, with a total of 12,260 and one death reported, bringing the total to 415. Meanwhile in Indonesia there were 4,192 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 506,302. The number of daily cures was 2,927, for a total of 425,313. The new deaths numbered 109, for a total of 16,111.

Recently, the rumors about Indonesia opening its borders to international tourists on December 1 have also circulated in various media in recent weeks. However, no official statement has yet been made by the authorities to clarify this.

Indonesia, including Bali, is still closed to foreign tourists, but foreigners with business purposes have started to return to the Island of the Gods. But still and all, during this period of ‘hiatus’, it is better to introspect and then preparing. In a program called We Love Bali, by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Bali’s revitalization is implementing a tourism with CHSE (Cleanliness, Health, Safety, and Environment) concept, where the visitors no need to worry about anything, in order to experience convenience while traveling.

So, we need you all guys, to support us and the world, whatever it is, to make this happen, not only in Bali, but everywhere around the world. Keep the positive vibe!

KEMBALI20: A Virtual Festival for Bali’s Come Back against the pandemic

KEMBALI20: A Virtual Festival for Bali’s Come Back against the pandemic

As we see the world changing before our eyes, an independent, not-for-profit foundation in Ubud, Bali, Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati, is embracing the change caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic with its newest digital initiative, KEMBALI 2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival (KEMBALI20).

The Foundation is known for one of the world’s leading literary and arts events Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) and Southeast Asia’s leading culinary event Ubud Food Festival (UFF). KEMBALI20 presented the best of the two Festivals in a new and exciting virtual experience from 29 October–8 November 2020.

From Amsterdam to Adelaide, Dubai to Delhi, Philippines to Pekalongan, and dozens of cities in between, over 120 speakers joined KEMBALI20 to share extraordinary stories, diverse voices, and brave ideas in virtual panel discussions, performances, workshops, film screenings, book launches, and cooking challenges.

As Janet DeNeefe, KEMBALI20 Founder and Director said, “With the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives have changed and things have changed permanently. In this extraordinary year, we have reimagined UWRF and combined it together with UFF and we are presenting something more meaningful, more diverse, than ever before. I’m proud to show you, and to launch, this Festival in this most unusual year.”

Just like its offline events in the past, this year’s celebration was packed with international guests including Academy Award-winning musician, composer, and producer David Byrne, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians Kevin Kwan, Booker nominee Avni Doshi, international chef and pioneer in sustainable fishing Bart van Olphen, distinguished Human Rights Watch researcher Sophie McNeill, and Haitian-American writer and MacArthur fellow Edwidge Danticat.

They were joined by Nobel Peace laureate and former President of East Timor Jose Ramos Horta, celebrated food journalist and writer James Oseland, Eritrean rising poet, storyteller, and activist Manal Younus, leading voice in Israeli literature and cinema Etgar Keret, and consultant for the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance and Leaders: Asia Pacific Program Maya Soetoro-Ng.

As Indonesia’s leading platform for showcasing its writers and artists to the world, the Festival is honored to welcome former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti, prominent actor and film producer Nicholas Saputra, Indonesia’s current most internationally renowned author Eka Kurniawan, critically acclaimed writer Dee Lestari, leading Indonesian architect Andra Matin, award-winning author Intan Paramaditha, and celebrated Indonesia’s first Muslim female stand-up comedian Sakdiyah Ma’ruf.

“KEMBALI20 is a virtual playground, unique, new, imaginative, is itself a testament to the fact that we can mount a response to the pandemic that we can get over the challenge and find new ways to do things,” commented Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia Gary Quinlan. “It is not a Festival just about revitalizing, rebuilding Bali, it is actually a Festival about hoping to rebuild all of us, all our lives, all our communities in this difficult time.”

Audiences learned how creativity, traditions, culture, and art is vital in facing global challenges theough 60 donation-based Main Program sessions comprising panels and one-on-one interviews. Sessions such as A Creative Response and Writing in Times of Crisis highlight the significance of the creative industry and its social impact during the pandemic.

Events outside the Main Program were also packed with ample inspiration. In Our Mothers’ Land, journalist Febriana Firdaus travels to meet women who have risen to lead social movements, facing violence, imprisonment, and judgement from conservative societies as they fight for their rights.

While Leila S. Chudori’s The Sea Speaks His Name Book Launch event shares the stirring story of a momentous period in Indonesian history. An artist-anthropologist from Ubud, Dewa Ayu Eka Putri, also presented a tribute to the legendary poet and writer, the late Sapardi Djoko Damono, who died after a quite long illness last July.

Stories from the Field, The Foundation’s first documentary-series production of the year, features five short movies that share and celebrate the resilience and adaptation of Balinese during the pandemic. With local filmmaker Wayan Martino, the series will showcase Bali beyond the beaches and rice paddies as we know it

The Lifetime Achievement Award, an initiative started by the Foundation as an appreciation for the world of Indonesian literature, is given annually to great figures who have dedicated their lives to developing Indonesian literature through their writings and works.

This time, the honor wss given to Toeti Heraty, Indonesia’s renowned poet, philosopher, and human rights activist. Born in Bandung on 27 November 1933, Toeti has been named the only woman amongst the leading contemporary poets of Indonesia and is considered the first generation of feminist thinkers.

“KEMBALI20’s aspiration to connect various communities of literature, art, culture and culinary lovers in all corners of the world, ignites the spirit that Bali can rise again,” said Vice Governor of Bali Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati. “Hopefully the inspirational and uplifting stories shared by KEMBALI20 can be the first steps in making this world a better place.”

We truly appreciate the people who have made time and put so much effort into making such a positive event that will hopefully bring Bali back to its feet. Always support local business and stay healthy, and we’ll see you next time.



Domestic tourists flock to Jimbaran Beach, Bali during the mass leave this week (23 Oct – 2 Nov). Entering the last day of collective leave, visitors are seen still enjoying the beauty of the sunset on Jimbaran Beach, Sunday, November 1, 2020.

Jimbaran Beach is known for its cafes that prepare seafood menus and are directly on the beach. Apart from enjoying a menu of Balinese culinary specialties, tourists can also enjoy the beach atmosphere and the beautiful sunset on the western horizon.

According to data from the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, an increase in the number of tourists began to appear since October 26, 2020. The number of visits at that time was estimated at 5,000 people. This number continues to increase. On October 27, 2020, tourists are predicted to increase to 6,300 people. The drastic increase of 9,500 people occurred on October 28, 2020.

This condition has an impact on the turnover of cafes along Jimbaran Beach which increases up to 60 percent from normal days. One of the cafe managers in Jimbaran Beach, Ketut Sudiasih, admitted that he was happy with the arrival of domestic guests on this long holiday, because usually it is so quiet due to the pandemic, but during this period of holiday it was crowded with domestic tourists. They even give the visitors a 15-20 percent covid-19 discount. The increase in the number of visitors began to occur on October 28, 2020 or the first day of joint leaves.

Apart from cafes, a number of hotels have also felt the impact of this joint vacation. The number of hotel occupancies that were usually quiet due to the pandemic has begun to increase. Like the Intercontinental Jimbaran Hotel, which holds a variety of entertainment to pamper guests. The hotel applies a discount of between 15 and 50 percent at cafe restaurants and other hotel facilities. A number of visitors, mostly from Jakarta, claim to be safe because all the locations they visit in Bali, including hotels and cafes, have implemented a disciplined health protocol.

Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, I Putu Astawa, said Bali tourism was still in the process of being able to adjust to the impact of the pandemic that had not yet ended. According to him, tourist visits are a blessing for Bali, which during the last eight months the tourism sector has plummeted. He said that long vacations with a high number of tourist visits during the pandemic are two things that need to be harmonized. Health is important and the main thing that must be considered. But the economic for Bali itself is also important for the survival of many parties. He also mentioned Bali as one of the prima donna tourist destinations abroad, welcoming domestic tourist visits in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially those coming during the 2020 long holiday.

The government harmonizes and balances health and economic interests. So they are trying to create a safe, comfortable vacation without crowds.

Meanwhile, a number of tourist-attraction managers in Bali are optimistic that Bali tourism can recover soon. There are many factors related to the beliefs of tourism object managers on the Island of the Gods. First apart from the number of confirmed positive daily cases of Covid-19 in regencies / cities in Bali which continues to decreased. Also the cure rate for Covid-19 patients continues to increase drastically.

In addition, the incessant socialization, supervision and monitoring of health protocols carried out by the Task Force for handling Covid-19 is also recognized as a determining factor. Public awareness to obey and implement health programs such as wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining distance is also believed to further reduce the number of transmission and exposure to the Corona virus in Bali.

Even though currently there are no foreign tourists because it hasn’t been opened yet, however, with the arrival of domestic tourists to Sangeh tourism object, they are optimist that in the future it will be crowded like before.

It can also be seen from the tourist’s visit during the long holiday of mass leave some time ago. It was said, from the average number of visits, during the long holiday, there were around 100 people who came to Sangeh tourism object.

Health protocols are also implemented, according to government recommendations; body temperature checking before walk-in, providing hand washing facilities at tourist sites, using masks for each visitor, and monitoring visitors to keep their distance and not crowd while on tour. The key is that all parties, both tourism managers and visitors or tourists, are aware and obey the health program as recommended by the government / Covid-19 Handling Task Force.

For now, from monitoring in other tourism objects, such as Bali Zoo, Bali Bird Park, Ceking, Sukawati Art Market, Tirta Empul, Ubud Monkey Forest, Gianyar, Bali, almost most of the tourism object managers have implemented the program. Apart from implementing strict health protocols, joint officers from the army, police, ministry of health, and related agencies also continue to aggressively supervise, monitor, and unannounced inspection. For visitors who were caught violating, such as not wearing masks, and making the crowd reprimanded to guidance.

Regarding the implementation of strict health protocols in tourist objects in Bali, one of the tourist attraction visitors, Gusti Ayu Purnami, admitted that there is no problem with being guarded or monitored by the authorities while on tour. For her, there is no problem because the goal is for the common good. In fact, the visitors are grateful and happy and at the same time feel comfortable on vacation with family because someone reminds us.

This conclude that although the pandemic is still exist, Bali is still a favourite destination for travellers on vacation. To the tune of 109 thousand tourists came through I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport. From 23 October to 1 November 2020, the total arrivals and departures are 109 thousand passengers. This number was dominated by those who came from Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar and Lombok.

The peak of arrivals occurred on October 28, 2020, with a total of 9,500 passengers. The backflow occurred on November 1, 2020, totalling 11,500 passengers. An increase in the number of visits was also conveyed by the Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, Putu Astawa. Although is not too significant, he admitted that there was an increase in the number of tourist visits to several destinations in Bali.

He is grateful that even in the midst of a pandemic, tourists still want to visit Bali. He believes that there has been a positive movement in the economy during the long holiday yesterday. The economic impact is felt because tourists definitely rent hotels, transportation and visit tourist objects. Surely, it was a bit of fresh air for Bali to breathe.

He continued, in the normal atmosphere before the pandemic, the number of tourist visits per day was around 16 thousand people. On the long holiday on vacation together yesterday, the number of tourists who came on vacation was half the number on normal days before the pandemic, namely 9,500 people.

The number is entirely domestic tourists because foreign tourists are still not allowed to be accepted. For foreign tourists it is still closed. That, depending on the country when he will allow his people to travel. This is something that is difficult to predict for foreign tourists. Hopefully it will be early in 2021 after the vaccine is available.

Let’s pray and keep the positive vibes!