Influencer Lost LeBlanc Pay Back the Land He Calls Home, Bali

One particular social media influencer who has been trying his best to give back to the local community is Christian LeBlanc, the man behind the brand Lost LeBlanc. With 666K followers on Instagram and almost 1,8 M subscribers on Youtube, this Canadian influencer is one of the most famous travel influencer on the platform.

His beautifully taken pictures are professionally edited and made even more interesting with high quality audio. Other than the technicalities, the contents themselves are top of the notch and full of inspiringly useful information. For the past couple of years, Bali has been the place he calls home; and, despite of being locked out of the country for almost 9 months in the early pandemic time, he has now been back in the island.

Realizing his power to make a difference, LeBlanc had made a series of videos showcasing the beauty of Bali, and some of our closest neighbors, The Gilis and Lombok Island. In these videos, LeBlanc helps promote the island to his fellow travellers, especially in this desperate time. One particular video follows him and a group of friends giving donation to a village near the famous Lempuyang Temple, which, like so many others, have suffered terrible loss of jobs and livelihood due to the death of the tourism this past year.

Although it may seem wrong for some people (why does he have to let everybody know about the donation?) it’s actually one of the best ways to tell and show people about the way they can help Bali in the pandemic. With that much followers and subscribers, surely many of them have come and fallen in love with Bali; and LeBlanc’s videos have given them a sad reality of the island the Gods have probably deserted. Hopefully, people will be able to see for themselves just how much Bali is suffering, and maybe start to give a small amount back to the communities that have welcomed them warmly.

Another video in his Youtube channel follows LeBlanc to a neighboring isles The Gilis, in which he escaped Bali during Nyepi and head off to Gili Air instead. The video is loaded with so many beautiful footages of the clear blue seas, along with the fishes and turtles he managed to meet in the dive spots. While going around the island on bikes, he also shows us the eerie villages as they are almost empty and so lacking of tourists. Nyepi day is one of the happiest times for the islanders since foreigners come flooding from Bali in order to avoid the day of silence.

In another video, LeBlanc treats a group of kids from a Balinese orphanage to a breakfast at a local Mc Donalds before going to a water park overviewing Mount Batur. Seems like a pretty good guy, right? This happy occasion ends with a gelato session before going back to the orphanage, where a caretaker proposed for a photo and video-making lessons for the kids. LeBlanc answered the proposal with a taunting message for camera and laptop sellers, asking for donations to make the idea comes true.

All and all, we have to say that we really appreciate what LeBlanc has done for the local community. That after receiving so much from the island, he remembers to give some back. That he tries to help Bali tourism back on its feet, and does it in a very professional way. If you are one of his followers or subscribers, and if you followed his lead by making donations for the local communities, we thank you, too. We can never tell you how much it means to us. To them. To the island we love so much. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Stay safe, stay healthy, and we’ll see you soon.

The Ngurah Rai Airport is Getting Crowded: Bali Tourism is Back Alive!

Finally, the news we have all been waiting for. Ylou read that right people; after a long year of being ripped from their main jobs, both the locals and any other foreign individuals living in Bali can breathe a little easier. Here it is: the rainbow after the storm. If hope is what has been keeping us alive, then this definitely is one thing we can be hopeful for.

According to the authorities, the number of passengers at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali in the March 2021 period recorded an increase of 68% in comparison to the passenger movement statistics in the February 2021 period.

In March 2021, it was noted that the airport served as many as 264,070 passengers consisting of 134,558 arriving passengers and 129,512 passengers leaving the Island of the Gods.

“When compared to passengers served in the previous February 2021, the departures increased by 63% and arrivals increased by 74%,” stated the General Manager of the Branch Office of PT Angkasa Pura I (Persero) International Airport I Gusti Ngurah Rai Herry AY Sikado, in Badung Regency in Bali, Sunday (4/4/2021).

He explained then that the highest number of daily passengers during March 2021 occurred on March 28, 2021, recording 11,776 passengers served in the facility.

The three most popular flight destinations in March 2021 are Jakarta, Surabaya and Lombok. “Of course, if the statistical movement of passenger traffic increases, the aircraft carrying also increases by 26% or 2,845 aircraft movements in the March 2021 period, when detailed for the arrival of 1,416 aircraft movements and 1,429 departures of aircraft movements,” Herry further said.

According to Herry Sikado, it is confirmed that with a statistical increase in March 2021 for both passengers and aircraft movements, the Ngurah Rai Airport manager would still maintain the level of service provided, especially in implementing health protocols according to procedures.

He also appealed to all service users while at the airport to prioritize health protocols by using masks, maintaining distance and regularly washing hands or using hand sanitizers.

“Currently all Ngurah Rai Airport officers are also gradually undergoing the Covid-19 vaccination process to help the government anticipate the Covid-19 pandemic and increase public confidence in using air transportation modes,” he finally added.

Well, that is one good, if nort great, news that we all have been waiting for. At last we can go back to doing whatever it is we were doing before the pandemic hits; albeit the strict health protocols thag we will still have to conduct in our daily activities.

However, is it really safe to start travelling again? Well, with the CHSE protocols being carried on every aircrafts taking us to the island, the mass Covid-19 vaccination given to the islanders, all the way to the safety protocols applied in every public places in thr island, we think it’s safe to say that it is. At least, it will be relatively so, now more than ever.

What is CHSE, anyway? The Indonesia Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy / the Tourism and Creative Economy Agency (Kemenparekraf / Barekraf) ensures that Bali has implemented cleanliness, health, safety & environment sustainability (CHSE).

Deputy for Destination and Infrastructure Development at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Hari Santosa Sungkari, said the CHSE is important to welcome tourists. CHSE is a protocol with hygiene, health, sanitation and environmental standards.

“Bali must be ready to welcome tourists, both those coming from the air, land and sea,” said Hari Sungkari in a statement in Jakarta, Tuesday (8/12/2020). He added, Kemenparekraf / Barekraf participated in restoring tourist destinations in Bali by touching everything. Starting from cleanliness such as revitalizing toilets, to implementing health protocols based on the CHSE.

Hari added, the government is exploring the possibility of foreign tourists via direct flights from Japan and China to Bali. “We are currently discussing a travel bubble with several countries. such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan. But there is someone asking again from America, “he continued. The travel bubble is the opening of a cross-country boundary zone that allows residents to travel as long as it does not exceed a predetermined area.

In this regard, the Ministry of Tourism is preparing a health protocol to welcome foreign tourists. According to him, it is possible that tourists need to bring PCR results and after arriving in Denpasar they must first undergo quarantine.

Last year, the former Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Wishnutama Kusubandio handed over the CHSE certificate to a restaurant manager in Kuta, Bali, Friday (11/12/2020).
The world tourism organization (UN WTO) appreciates the tourism industry in Bali for implementing the CHSE (Clean, Health, Safety and Environment Sustainability) protocol. This appreciation was expressed when the UN WTO representative visited Bali.

“Yesterday the WTO UN came here. They really appreciate the implementation of the CHSE protocol in Bali,” said the former Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Wishnutama Kusubandio in Kuta, Bali, Friday (11/12/2020).

He explained that Indonesia was the first country visited by the WTO UN to see firsthand the implementation of the CHSE protocol.

While in Bali, UN WTO made visits to a number of places, from airports, hotels, restaurants and a number of tourist objects.

Wishnu asked that the appreciation given by the WTO UN be maintained consistently by tourism actors and tourists on vacation in Bali. “Tourism actors and tourists alike must have concerns about the CHSE,” he said.

In addition to the implementation of the CHSE, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy has also revitalized tourism supporting infrastructure including toilets on Kuta Beach, Bali, as one of the tourist attractions in tourist’s favorite destinations.

Deputy for Destination and Infrastructure Development at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Hari Santosa Sungkari, said that the supporting infrastructure for tourism, including clean toilets, is an indication of a well-managed and quality destination.

“A clean toilet indicates that the destination is also clean. Moreover, we carry out the standard implementation of health protocols with the CHSE program or ‘Cleanliness, Health, Safety, Environment’, “said Hari Sungkari.

He said that Kuta Beach, which is located in Badung Regency, Bali, is one of the favorite destinations for tourists, so it needs to be revitalized to make it more comfortable for tourists to visit.
For this reason, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy / Baparekraf is carrying out activities to revitalize toilets as an important tourism supporting infrastructure.

The Toilet Revitalization Activity on Kuta Beach was inaugurated by the Deputy for Destination and Infrastructure Development at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Hari Santosa Sungkari, accompanied by the Director of Regional Destination Development II of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Wawan Gunawan, and Secretary of the Tourism Office of Badung Regency, AA Yuyun H. Enni, on 11 December 2020.

Hari Sungkari said the Clean Toilet Program was the second toilet revitalized by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy / Baparekraf in the Kuta Beach area.

Hari added, destination managers have also proven their commitment to maintaining and maintaining the first toilets that have been revitalized.

Director of Regional Tourism Destination Development II of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Wawan Gunawan, said that good facilities make visitors more happy and comfortable while enjoying the beach atmosphere.

So, are you ready for Bali 2.0?

Bali is Reopening its Tourism Gate in July, You Must Come!

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?

Sumba, the Shining Jewel of the East Indonesia

Sumba, the Shining Jewel of the East Indonesia

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.

How the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism Plans to Recover Bali’s Tourism

How the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism Plans to Recover Bali’s Tourism

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.

 

Health Protocol Violations in Bali Last Holiday Season

Health Protocol Violations in Bali Last Holiday Season

Though we are happy to see more people coming to Bali, we have to admit that opening the border for tourists has a negative impact too. With the positive cases of Covid-19 skyrocketing due to health protocol violations, let us take a moment to step back and inspect what we have done wrong.

While the use of ace masks have been mandatory all across the island, many people are still taking this lightly. Tourists were seen roaming the streets with their masks hanging on the chin, eliminating the effectivity of the masks altogether.

Malls were packed with people, whom despite of their body temperatures, might still be non-symptomatic carriers of the virus; and although they were encouraged to maintain safe distances from fellow visitors, well, it simply wasn’t the case.

As the photos of Health Protocol Violations circulated some weeks ago, headlines in several local outlets included the phrase “naughty bule” for those caught not wearing masks properly — or at all. Bule is an Indonesian word for foreigners, especially Caucasians, and the spots they tend to favour have become a focus for authorities.

Many head to the Badung regency area, where the popular Kuta and Seminyak beaches are located. Here, local authorities have recorded the highest number of coronavirus health protocol violations in Bali, with 8,864 offences occurring up to this week.

“Most of [the offences] were not bringing their masks, not wearing them properly, and some businesses not applying health protocols,” Badung regency Public Order Agency chief I Gusti Agung Kerta Suryanegara told the ABC.

While many of them were local Balinese, Mr Suryanegara said 80 per cent of people who had been fined for violating COVID-19 regulations were foreigners, mostly from Europe. “Some foreigners were found walking on the beach, sitting in restaurants, and riding motorbikes without masks,” he said.

Mr Suryanegara said foreigners who had been caught seemed to underestimate the strength of health protocols in Bali and those who had been fined were “naughty”. But those who committed minor mistakes, such as bringing their mask but not wearing it, were asked to do push-ups or sweep the street.

Although many Australians have been cautioned for not properly wearing masks, none have yet been fined over that. Some, however, were fined because they were “showing resistance” like “talking back”, or not being cooperative, when approached by officers, Mr Suryanegara said.

I’m not saying that Indonesians are well behaved, but fines were given as the [last resort], which means that [those who were fined] didn’t want to comply and were very defensive,” Mr Suryanegara said.

In September, Bali started fining residents caught without a face mask 100,000 rupiah ($9). Overall, the Public Order Agency has recorded more than 15,000 offences in Bali since the mandatory mask rule was introduced. Mr Suryanegara said so far authorities have gathered 15.3 million rupiah ($1,400) from the fines in Badung alone.

Kadek Astika lives in Kerobokan, in Badung regency, and operates a couple of villas in the area. She said the breaching of health protocols during the pandemic showed how outsiders, such as foreigners and tourists, often did not respect local culture.

“Even before the pandemic we have already seen many foreign tourists, particularly the young ones not following the rules, such as riding bikes without helmets or getting drunk and then involved in brawls on the streets,” Ms Astika said.

“Some of them also violated our traditions and values by disrespecting sacred sites with their behaviour when visiting temples.” But Ms Astika said it was not just foreigners or local tourists ignoring the health directives. “Our pecalang [traditional Balinese security forces] has been tirelessly trying to discipline local people too,” she said.

According to the country’s National COVID-19 Task Force, the compliance rate for wearing masks in Bali is 96.5 per cent, while maintaining physical distancing is 92 per cent. That makes the island’s compliance with COVID-19 protocols the best in Indonesia.

Indonesia began rolling out its vaccination program last Wednesday, with President Joko Widodo receiving the first jab of the Chinese-developed Sinovac vaccine. Bali started administering vaccinations the following day.

Throughout the pandemic, more than 850,000 people in Indonesia have been infected and there has been more than 20,000 cases in Bali. Indonesia recorded its highest number of daily cases — 11,557 — on Thursday, two weeks after end-of-year holidays. Tighter restrictions had been imposed in Java and Bali, requiring places including shopping centres, malls, and restaurants to close by 9:00pm.

However, local media reported that authorities were involved in an argument after several foreigners refused to leave a restaurant after the deadline. The video of the dispute was posted on Instagram.

Last week, the Governor of Bali, I Wayan Koster, said since many foreigners were “difficult to manage” the Bali Government would take further action. “Tourists not wearing masks will not be given entry to tourist destinations and restaurants,” Mr Koster said.

“So they will not be given any services if they don’t wear a mask. “That’s our decision … because there are already many violations committed by foreign tourists.” Mr Suryanegara from the Public Order Agency said he hoped the tighter restrictions would “make everyone, not just foreigners, obey the rules”

With the vaccines being distributed across the country, let’s all get the shot and ditch this virus once and for all. Let’s hope for a Covid-free 2021. Like always, stay safe and stay healthy!