After a year long of being more or less like an abandoned island, Bali and all the people who depend heavily on the island’s tourism, can finally see the light in the end of the tunnel. Everywhere, the island sounds busy with hopeful whispers and words of joy. One by one, sfore fronts are once more being cleaned, dusred, and re-decorated.
President Joko Widodo through the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (Kemenparekraf in Bahasa Indonesia) has finally decided to reopen the Island of Gods for international tourist starting this July, 2021.
As quoted from Antara News, “We are very delighted with the move signaled by President Joko Widodo to open Bali in June or July this year. We have been waiting for a year and it has not been in vain,” said corporate secretary, PT Destinasi Tirta Nusantara, AB Sadewa, in a statement issued in March 2021.
“As a tourism industry maker, we hope the reopening of Bali can truly be realized in order to boost the recovery of the tourism and economy sector,” he added.
For a year, the tourism sector, which specifically caters to international tourists, has stopped operations due to restrictions on entry of foreign travelers, he then noted.
The reopening of Bali is scheduled to begin in July, 2021 with pilot trials in three green zone destinations — Ubud, Sanur, and Nusa Dua. The vaccination campaign is being accelerated in the green zones to ensure the safety and comfort of tourists coming into Bali.
COVID-19 vaccination programs have been held simultaneously in the three green zone areas in Bali, starting Monday (March 22, 2021), with the vaccines supplied by the central government.
The central government has supported the supply of vaccines in accordance with the requirement of 170,487 doses, divided over three regions. At least 47,045 doses have been given to the Ubud region, 87,715 to Nusa Dua, and 35,727 doses to the Sanur region.
Sadewa said he is optimistic that opening Bali to foreign tourists could be a turning point for tourism recovery in Indonesia in general and help move the local economy, such as hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops, and ensure health protocol readiness, or CHSE (Cleanliness, Health, Safety, Environment), as per the standards set by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.
To maintain tourism sustainability, Sadewa said he hopes the government would roll out stimulus or incentives, especially for tourist agencies to help them restart operations that have been halted for over a year. Such stimulus measures, he said, can be in the form of a soft loan for capital, marketing cost incentives, relaxation for foreign tourists who come to Indonesia, and tourism grants.
He also said he is hoping for prompt implementation of ‘vaccine passports’ for foreign tourists who have received their shots, in order to reduce the risk of transmission. This will certainly encourage travelers who want to vacation in Indonesia as well as boost the level of acceptance of foreign tourists by the Indonesian people, he added.
“We hope that Bali (tourism) will soon be revived if the vaccination process goes on every day. If the spread of COVID-19 begins to slow down, with the designated steps by the regional governments, the opening of the economic sector in Bali can be carried out one by one, especially the tourism sector, to (help the region) return to normal,” said President Joko Widodo while reviewing a mass vaccination program in Gianyar, Bali on March 16, 2021.
If the three green or COVID-19-free tourist destinations are opened to tourists, monitoring and evaluation will continue every week, including the developments following the reopening.
“Green Zone Tourism or COVID-19 free areas will be able to accept foreign tourists starting August 17, 2021. It is still the trial stage, because in March, 2022, the whole tourism (area) in Bali will be opened to foreign tourists,” said the Gianyar district head I Made Mahayastra.
Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, said green tourist destinations that are free of COVID-19 would make tourists, both domestic and foreign, feel safe while vacationing in Bali. On the other hand, those in the tourism industry and the Balinese people will also be safe and comfortable as incoming tourists would be free of COVID-19, he finally added.
Well, now that we know the plan, can we just start planning already? Below are some ideas of what you can do within the area of Nusa Dua, Sanur, and Ubud.
If you love extreme and water sport, we recommend you to stay in Nusa Dua area; as it is conveniently located along the shores of Bali’s most priminent beaches and known for their water sport and extreme sport facilities like parasailing and paragliding. If jetskis and banana boats have become far too modest for you, then you definitely need to give these a try.
More into yoga and all that jazz? Then you should stay in Ubud and try meditating in the various yoga shalas you’ll easily find there. Known as the center for yoga enthusiasts, you will find no problem getting healthy and vegan food in the area. You should also give Ubud a visit if you have an interest in art as there are some of the island’s most popular art galleries and museums in the area.
Lastly, for a more refined and high-classed version of the island vacation, try staying in Sanur area. Its relatively flat contour make it ideal for family stroll, and it seems like the seniors prefer the area too. With distinguished local boutiques scattered in between luxury brand stores and cozy little restaurants offering five-star menus to fill your stomach with, Sanur had always been busy with pedestrians strolling in summer dresses, and we sure hope that it will soon see some life again.
Which area will you go to this July?
A coronavirus breathalyzer is a diagnostic medical device enabling the user to determine with 90% or greater accuracy the presence of coronavirus in an exhaled breath.
As of the first half of 2020, the idea of a practical coronavirus breathalyzer was concomitantly developed by unrelated research groups in the United States, Finland, Israel, Indonesia, England, Australia and Germany.
In Indonesia we have GeNose C19 or Gadjah Mada Electronic Nose is the newest medical device innovation designed by UGM to detect Covid-19 symptoms only using people’s breath rapidly. The tool developed by prof. Dr. Eng. Kuwat Triyana, M.Sc., and the team are currently proceeding to the diagnostic test phase before being mass-produced at the end of the year. “We want to set the price cheaper so that we can achieve the social value to help the society in overcoming Covid-19,” Kuwat told reporters. After signing the memorandum of understanding for the GeNose C19 diagnostic test cooperation between UGM and Sardjito Hospital on Monday (26/10) at Sardjito Hospital Training Room, he conveyed this information.
He revealed that this tool had been permitted by the Ministry of Health to promptly undergo diagnostic tests at nine partner hospitals, Dr. Sardjito. The diagnostic test design was cross-sectional and triple blinded. Meanwhile, the subjects’ recruitment is multicenter consecutive sampling until balanced sample size is achieved between the positive Covid-19 and Covid-19 negative groups. In the initial stages of implementing GeNose C19, it will run as a Covid-19 screening tool. As it is being evaluated for accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity, it can hopefully be enhanced to a Covid-19 diagnostic tool equivalent to a swab / PCR.
GeNose C19, an instant Covid-19 detection tool developed by Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, has secured a distribution license from the Health Ministry, paving its way for public use, the university’s development team said in a statement on Saturday. Unlike the existing tests, which use blood, saliva, or nasal fluid for detecting the novel coronavirus’s genetic marker, GeNose analyzes one’s breath using artificial intelligence technology, offering a much faster and cheaper process with comparable accuracy to the existing tests.
Meanwhile, Bali Ngurah Rai Airport has reported a significant increase in passengers so far in March. The General Manager of Angkasa Pura I Ltd from Ngurah Rai Airport, Herry A.Y. Sikado said that the airport recorded a 35 percent of increase in flights compared with the data from February 2021. “We received 109,046 passengers on the middle of the March that consist of 54,777 departures and 54,269 arrivals, and that was 35% higher than the same period of time on February 2021” said Sikado on Wednesday (17/3). He also explained that there were 644 incoming flights and 650 take offs in the first half of March, and that showed 5 percent on increase in comparison with last month. “Our data shows an increase in domestic air travel service, despite the Day of Silence celebration on the 14th of March when we had to close the airport from operating for 24 hours,” Sikado added.
Despite an increase on the number of flights that potentially could create a crowd inside the airport, Sikado admitted that his team has been consistently monitoring health protocols inside the Ngurah Rai airport facility. “We keep assuring that everyone including the passengers comply with the health protocols while using the facility. We also placed officials from the Health Office to check the swab and rapid antigen test document from each passenger upon arrival” Sikado concluded.
Due to this demand, Genose is really promising to put in Ngurah Rai International airport as an optional for the passengers when they are going back from and to Bali. Because the current regulation stated in accordance with the Covid-19 Handling Task Force’s decree Number 17 Year 2021, all passengers are required to show proof of a negative PCR swab test which was taken no longer than 2 days prior to the departure or rapid antigen test document taken 24 hours prior to departure.
Genose it self has an aim to increase mass testing of coronavirus at hospitals, airports, seaports and other public places in the world’s fourth most populous country. Genose can give the faster result which the most important thing that we need due to the current situation. Professor Kuwat Triyana, who led the GeNose research project, said a single test takes barely a minute and a half to produce a result, compared to the two days or longer for the standard PCR nasal swab test. “The workflow is very easy,” he said. “The breath is taken from your mouth, put into a bag, sealed, then plugged into the machine whose software interprets it, all within about 80 seconds.
While Professor Kuwat says the breathalyser’s accuracy will only improve as it is used more widely, he acknowledges the breathalyser is less reliable than the existing PCR test, which is seen as the gold standard for detecting COVID-19 around the world. “With this [device] we can screen people and set aside those who are negative,” he said. “The rest can then be sent to do a PCR test.” Professor Catherine Bennett, chair of Epidemiology at Australia’s Deakin University, said existing evidence from before the pandemic supports the feasibility of devices like the GeNose C-19 breathalyser. “The science is there,” she said. “You can pick up signatures of virus infections.” She says the test is akin to a “sniffer dog”. “They’re able to detect volatile compounds — that’s how they use them to test for explosives, and they’ve already trialled them, testing for COVID-19 as well,” she said. “The question is whether it’s distinctive enough for COVID, to be able to tell the difference between someone with a common cold and COVID.”
The country right now has struggled to meet the World Health Organization’s minimum recommendation of one test for every 1,000 people per week — or 270,000 people in a population of 270 million. “Hopefully this device can help to solve the COVID crisis in Indonesia,” Professor Kuwat said. “We can cut this chain of COVID relatively quickly, in one or two months.” Professor Bennett agrees that even with a lower accuracy rate than the PCR test, the GeNose device could make a big difference in Indonesia. “If you’ve got people who aren’t testing, and this is a way of grabbing them when they’re at work or at shopping centres and doing a very rapid test, it’s not as accurate but it will give you a group of people that you can then direct to more formal testing,” she said.”It won’t capture everyone. You’re still going to miss 10 per cent of the true cases that are out there. “But you going to pick up 90 per cent of them. And you’re not doing that at the moment if these are people who aren’t testing. So rapid testing does make a difference.”
Even though genose seems promising test, but we still need to do the vaccine before we can fully travel around the world. Professor Bennett also warns that vaccinations could undermine the efficacy of rapid tests, because it isn’t known “whether you could still be detected if you were carrying the virus but not actively infected by it and didn’t have symptoms As we know, vaccine and health protocols are really necessary to stop the spread of the virus. So we always warn you to keep the health protocols in check and get the vaccinated before decided to go travel or having business aboard, especially to Bali Indonesia. Remember to stay safe whenever you are right now and take a very careful note in every document you should carry around with you when you are going to travel. Stay safe and See you in Bali!
How often do we hear about people catching Covid-19 from family cluster? The answer is, way too often. Like any other viruses, one of the scariest thing about Covid-19 is the possibility to spread it to our loved ones. Even if we have done all the precautions and follow health protocols, there’s still a possibility that we caught the virus and unknowingly bring it home, putting our loved ones in danger of getting it, too.
While I’m sure that everyone here has been staying home and following all the rules, let’s just be honest. After a year of pandemic, there’s just no way that we stay home all the time. Many of us has to go back to work to make money, and there are also plenty other reasons that force us to go outside (and even out of town) every once in a while.
With the air travelling system being reinforced and once again up-and-running, it’s becoming easier for us to both getting out of town, and also getting a bigger chance to catch the virus. If you have been travelling and you have your loved ones at home that you would not want to share the virus with, here is a safety measure you can (and hopefully) do before setting your feet at the comfort of your home: doing a private isolation for at least five days outside of home.
Sure you can pretend to have a camping trip by staying in a tent, but come on, how comfortable could it be? Well, being in isolation doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort; and what can be more comfortable than staying in a four star hotel, right?
Well, if you agree with me, here is one particular hotel that will provide you with everything you need during your private isolation: The Ramada By Wyndham Bali.
Located in the heart of Bali tourism Sunset Road, the Ramada by Wyndham offers you plenty of room types to suit your need. From single bed to double beds, breakfast-included packages to bed-only ones, there will always be something suitable for you.
It is important that people who are required to comply with quarantine/isolation protocols are provided with support and care. Hotel staff who follow hand hygiene principles, physical distancing rules, and adherence to isolation guidelines, are at minimal risk.
The WHO has issued a document that sets out the minimum standard required for staff, including contracted staff, employed at hotels that have guests who have been directed to quarantine or isolate at a hotel that is not a State Health Incident Control Centre (SHICC) hotel. Hotels should consider having closed circuit television (CCTV) and some form of security is recommended. However, all hotels must have a front desk that is manned 24 hours a day.
Privacy of guests must always be maintained. The COVID-19 status of all guests must be kept confidential. All guests who are required to quarantine/isolate should be managed in the same manner, regardless of their COVID-19 status.
With strict rules from the WHO regarding the operational protocols for hotels offering private isolation packages, we can rest assured that our health and safety becomes the main priority for such accommodation; including the Ramada by Wyndham Bali Hotel at Sunset Road. Will you give it a try next time you come in from your over-town business trips?
There’s so much more to Sumba Island than what meets the eye: The rugged coastline and exotic beaches. The unique traditions and rich history. The diverse cultures and isolated way of life.
While most of you probably know more about the remotely exotic places in Indonesia than half of Indonesians ourselves, there’s still a good chance that you haven’t heard about this one, yet.
If you reside in Bali (like we do,) you might have been travelling to its neigboring isles like the Nusas and Gilis before; but have you ever visited Sumba? If you haven’t, here is some facts about the region that might get your attention.
Sumba is one of the five poorest islands in Indonesia. As a result, life for the Sumbanese people isn’t easy as the rural areas lack clean water, proper housing, and adequate healthcare and education.
A sad reality is that when children reach an age where they can assist with work at home, this becomes a priority, and their schooling comes second. The Sumbanese live on their own crops and are unaffected by material wealth.
Sumba Island has recently become a hotspot for local tourists. Indonesians have begun to explore Sumba to escape the hordes of travelers that vacation at the more popular islands. International tourists are following suit and discovering the breathtaking natural landscapes of Sumba that are unspoilt by development.
Sumba Island or Pulau Sumba in Bahasa Indonesia, is an island in eastern Indonesia. It is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands and is in the province of East Nusa Tenggara. Sumba has an area of 11,006.62 square kilometres (4,249.68 square miles), and the population was estimated to be 805,716 in mid 2019.
To the northwest of Sumba is Sumbawa, to the northeast, across the Sumba Strait (Selat Sumba), is Flores, to the east, across the Savu Sea, is Timor, and to the south, across part of the Indian Ocean, is Australia.
The Sumbanese people speak a variety of closely related Austronesian languages and have a mixture of Austronesian and Melanesian ancestry. The largest language group is the Kambera language, spoken by a quarter of a million people in the eastern half of Sumba.
Twenty-five to thirty percent of the population practices the animist Marapu religion. The remainder are Christian, a majority being Dutch Calvinist with a substantial minority being Roman Catholic. A small number of Sunni Muslims can be found along the coastal areas.
Sumba is famous for ikat textiles, particularly very detailed hand-woven ikat. The process of dying and weaving ikat is labor-intensive and one piece can take months to prepare.
If you are planning to visit Sumba, here are some places that you need to go to:
1. Tanggedu Waterfall, 26 kilometres from the East Sumba Regency’s capital city of Waingapu.
2. Puru Kambera Beach, 26 kilometres from Waingapu, a one-hour drive.
3. Tarimbang Bay, 120 kilometres from Waingapu, a three-hour drive, is a surfers paradise with 2- to 3-meter tall waves between June and September.
4. Watu Mandorak Cove, a white sandy beach with cliffs, a two-hour drive, and 42 kilometers from Tambolaka in the dry season. It takes longer and is not recommended in the rainy season.
5. The Sumba Hospitality Foundation is located in Sumba Barat Daya or Southwest Sumba. The Foundation is an organization dedicated to providing vocational education in hospitality to underprivileged students hailing from all across Sumba.
Wondering what’s the best way to get there? Well, Sumba is a big island, twice the size of Bali. It has 2 airports, one on the west, Tambolaka Airport, and another in the east, Waingapu Airport.
Make sure you know where you want to go before you book your flights to Sumba. The distance from one side of the island to the other is over 7 hours drive, and the price for a taxi to get between the two is more expensive than the flight ticket itself.
Airlines flying into Sumba from Bali include Garuda Indonesia, Wings Air, and Nam Air. Garuda Indonesia has the best track record whilst Nam Air is the more budget-friendly option.
The best time to visit Sumba is during the dry season which runs from May to October. You can also travel to Sumba during the rainy season from November to April but expect daily afternoon rain showers.
Now that you know how to get there and where to go when you get there, you might be wondering where you can stay during your visit there. The island’s most popular resort is the Nihi Sumba, which has been ranked as one of the world’s five best eco-hotels and was awarded the world’s best hotel of 2016 and 2017 from Travel + Leisure for its native ambiance and authentic local experience.
Despite its expensive rates, the resort has always been fully booked. Well, it might be a good idea to go during this time as it wouldn’t be full of people and you won’t have to wait for another year for a room there.
Have we convinced you to visit Sumba? We sure hope so! Please leave a comment if you have ever been there, or if you are planning to. Until next time, please stay safe and stay healthy.
After a year without any sign of the pandemic being over soon, there is no wonder that the tourism sector has been in its worst situation ever. All across the globe, areas that have been solely depending on tourism for their main source of income have suffer a terrible impact due to the travel bans across the borders.
Bali is just the same. With 95% of the island’s income coming from the tourism sector, the pandemic has really taken a toll on the islanders’ lifelihood. A small talk with some policemen in Ubud a while ago has revealed that more and more suicide cases are occuring within the jurisdiction. Might seem exagerrated, but when we think about it, the people living in Bali are exactly they who has been preparing to work in the tourism world for all their life; and when they can’t do it anymore, some will eventually feel lost and desperate enough to end their life.
President Jokowi through the Ministry of Tourism has planned to re-open some of Bali tourism spots this coming June, just in time for the National School Holiday season, particularly in the Ubud, Nusa Dua, and Sanur area.
The previous conversation mentioned above happened during a mass vaccination event held in Ubud as a preparation for said plan to be conducted in June 2021. We saw the designated vaccination posts were neatly filled with the village people, enthusiastically coming to get their vaccines done and start the old, happy, tourist-y life once again.
The Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, revealed that vaccination for tourism and creative economy actors is a colossal step for the awakening of tourism and the creative economy.
“This step starts in Bali on February 27-28. This is a form of fast movement and collaboration between the government, the business world and the community, “Sandi said in a virtual discussion, Monday (1/3).
Sandi said that currently being prepared to open a tourist destination called the free covid corridor program, where destinations in the green zone are starting to open. This policy is based on the level of covid-19 transmission in a region.
Sandi said, the implementation of the free covid corridor is planned to start in Bali, then gradually to other tourist destinations. He said that the implementation of this policy would later coordinate with related ministries / agencies, the Covid-19 Task Force and regional heads.
“[We’re going to] Focus on the domestic segment first. Adapt with the discipline of 3M’s health protocol by encouraging CHSE-certified destinations (clean, health, safety, and environmental sustainability),” Sandi further stated.
Furthermore, Sandi assessed that the pandemic has changed the trend of tourism from mass tourism to sustainable tourism. Travel preferences are customized, personalized, localized, and smaller in size to reduce transit and contactless.
“Now what is much sought after is culture-based tourism based on open nature. Nature and culture. “From just seeing the sea of white sand, the sun is now looking for silence, sustainability, spirituality from his visits to tourism spots,” Sandi explained.
Governor of Bali I Wayan Koster said, the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic was very much felt on tourism and the economy.
He said the hotel was empty and the restaurant quiet. Then, for the first time in history, economic growth in Bali experienced the deepest contraction, reaching 12%. “The worst record so far is in Bali and the lowest nationally in 2020,” said Koster.
Therefore, Koster welcomes the Covid-19 vaccination program for tourism actors. This is to revive Bali tourism. Koster said, Bali has prepared two areas for the application of the free covid corridor, namely in Nusa Dua and Ubud.
However, at least 120,000 doses of vaccine are needed to implement the free covid corridor in these two areas. The vaccine will be used for tourism actors and local residents. “There is no choice but to control the pandemic first and make it a green zone area,” Koster said lastly.
Well, this plan has surely given hope to the locals, as well as the foreign nationalities living in Bali; that we can finally go back to how it was before, of course with health protocols kept being practised over the year. Let’s just all hope for the best.