Local News

No plans to open up Bali tourism in near future: governor

Bali province is still focusing on public health amid the COVID-19 pandemic and has no plans on restarting tourism activities in the near future, the governor says, as Indonesia appears set to head into a so-called “new normal” despite the lack of downward trend in new cases of the coronavirus across the archipelago.

“We are prioritizing health in Bali. The president has also agreed that tourism will be [considered] last,” Bali Governor Wayan Koster said today.

Koster noted that the province will be focusing on restarting the local economy first, adding that officials are still reviewing the steps forward on this matter. Tourist attractions across the island, including its popular beaches, have been temporarily closed to visitors since late March. Talks of a new normal are front and center among Indonesian officials this week, with discussions of strict health protocols taking precedence, including in the tourism industry. President Joko Widodo said officials and tourism players should anticipate a massive trend change in traveling and called on the establishment of tourism-focused health protocols for when travel restarts.

However, Jokowi also said that tourist destinations in the country shouldn’t reopen in haste. The remark follows an announcement from the governor of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) on Wednesday, who announced that tourist destinations in that province will begin reopening on June 15.

“Once again, on the field it needs to be extremely strict before we reopen, so that travelers, whether domestic or foreign, can travel safely and members of the public can return to a productive life,” Jokowi said.

For the time being, there are plans set for Bali to become the pilot location in the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry’s Cleanliness, Health, and Safety (CHS) program, which is currently being prepared to welcome visitors after the coronavirus pandemic. Related – Bali set to become Tourism Ministry’s pilot project for new health-focused program

As for when that will take place, officials have yet to disclose more details but previously hinted at the possibility that the popular holiday destination could reopen to tourists in October, often citing the province’s perceived success in controlling the coronavirus outbreak. (Coconuts.co 30/05/2020)

A new amendment to the Bali spatial plan, Regional Regulation No.16 of 2009 concerning Bali RTRWP 2009-2029, officially took effect yesterday, 29 May, 2020.


New spatial plan could start a new era for Bali

According to Bali Governor Koster, the revised regulation (No.3 2020) is thick with the vision of Nangun Sat Kerthi Loka Bali. “The philosophy has now changed completely. We believed the spatial planning must support the implementation of the Nangun Sat Kerthi Loka Bali vision and the basis is sad kerthi,” said Bali Governor Wayan Koster at a press conference at Jayasabha, Denpasar on Friday (29/5).

Koster pointed out that the new regulation also accommodates specifics such as changing the plantation area in Jembrana into an industrial area, primarily developing the implementation of clean energy.

To be begin with the battery-based electric motor assembly industry, which was already been proposed by the Bali government last year, will be set up in the area. “It will be built in Jembrana. So later this battery-based electric motorized vehicle will not only be used by local users in Bali, but we will also distribute and sell it to other regions,” he explained to Bali Post.

Koster also said that they had received very good responses so far from Pertamina, PLN, Indonesia Power and even the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources because Bali is the only province that has a governor regulation on Bali Clean Energy.

The government plans to use solar panels in homes, offices, tourism facilities and other government facilities around the island in the future. Currently, the solar panel industry is built by Indonesia Power in West Java with a capacity of more than 70 thousand solar panels. “With this clean energy regulation in Bali, we intend the industrial development will be centred in Jembrana,” he added.

According to Koster, Bali will have an industry that can increase economic value, open new jobs, and increase regional income. Both in the province and district.

Also in regard to the new RTRWP regulation, Koster stressed, all development in Bali must be controlled from now so that it does not violate the rules or jeopodise the Balinese religious, day to day life.

“In the future, there will be no more building hotels on the beach, stopping the control of the beach in front of them. Also Balinese ceremonies, such as Melasti, have often been disrupted because of these projects,” he explained.

Also within the revisions in spatial planning regulation, new toll roads and railroads have been accommodated as well as the planned new airport in Buleleng, the development of the Benoa port, and the Titab, Sidan and Tamblang reservoirs. (Seminyaktimes.com 30/05/2020)


Travelers flying in to Bali must present COVID-19-negative medical certificate

The Bali provincial government is now making it compulsory for travelers entering Bali via Ngurah Rai International Airport to present a COVID-19-negative medical certificate, along with several other travel requirements imposed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

As of yesterday, all travelers visiting Bali are required to provide a statement of purpose and another statement from a sponsor, who is expected to be responsible for the traveler while they are in the province. Travelers flying into Bali will have to provide an additional statement of health indicating that they are COVID-19-negative, which must be based on the results of a PCR test conducted by either a regional or government lab, or a lab designated by the COVID-19 task force in Indonesia.

This third requirement differs for travelers entering the island by ship, as they can prove they are COVID-19-free with a letter based on the results of a rapid test conducted by official labs or any Health Agency across the country. All the letters are deemed valid seven days from issue date.

In addition, travelers are also expected to fill up an application form on a site put up by the provincial government, which would generate a QR Code as proof for checking off this requirement. You can visit the website here.

There are currently no scheduled flights to Bali, as confirmed by Awaluddin, a spokesman from state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I, as part of a travel ban imposed a month ago. Based on the latest official announcements, however, Ngurah Rai is set to reopen on June 2 pending possible delays. (Coconuts.co 30/05/2020)


Surf smashes the coast while many try to save their businesses

Surf’s up on the west coast of Bali today and with the combination of the high tides and large waves, the surf is back with force. To make matters worse for the now dormant warungs lining the beaches, which have all been closed for weeks due to the Covid-19 controls, many are now being smashed by the waves, with their owners scurrying to save what they can.

Eye witness, Pak Nick, from Seminyak’s 66 Beach told Seminyak Times this morning that conditions were getting wild along the coast and he was feeling it for the warungs saying, “The owners of the beach bars have come down to secure their source of income.” Bless them and we asked, it must be kind of eerie down the beach without anyone around.

Fishermen in Tabanan and other parts of the coast have been forced to stop work and pull their boats high onto the beach, protecting themselves from the four metre plus waves crashing onto the shore. The Chairperson of the Tabanan sector of the Indonesia Fishermen Association (HNSI), Ketut Arsana Yasa told Bali Post that the weather conditions have certainly forced the fishermen to stop fishing, for their own safety.

“We need to careful with the high waves together with the peak of the tides at noon today (Wednesday). The height of the waves can reach 4.2 meters plus,” he explained.

“Since domestic flights opened, exports have started, and all fishermen are back to sea to make a living,” he said. (Seminyaktimes.com 01/06/2020)


Bali zoo’s newborn baby giraffe named Corona

A Bali zoo has named a baby giraffe Corona in honour of her birth during the global pandemic. The calf was born on April 9 to mother Sophie and father Matadi, joining two other siblings at Bali Safari Park on the Indonesian holiday island. A video released by the zoo showed the calf being born in a small enclosure.

“She was born during the COVID-19 pandemic so the environment minister… named her Corona,” said zoo spokesman Anak Agung Ngurah Alit Sujana.

“Corona is healthy and is still breastfeeding. We’ll keep her under observation for three months.”

Bali Safari Park has been closed to visitors since late March as part of efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus infections. (TheJakartapost.com 30/05/2020)


An inside look into a COVID-19 testing lab in Bali

Erly Sintya, a biomolecule scientist, closely examines the numbers and graphics of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) results on a computer at the laboratory of Warmadewa University in Denpasar, Bali, on May 14. Erly, accompanied by a laboratory staff member, records the PCR test results of 38 samples gathered from Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar.

“It is quite nerve-racking to read the test results. We’re worried [about working with test samples] but we try to work hard and be professional,” says Erly, who is also the lab’s analysis coordinator.

“Working in the laboratory to test for the virus is quite risky, but we have applied all the necessary procedures to minimize the risks.”

Warmadewa University rector I Dewa Putu Widjana said the biomolecule laboratory had intensified its PCR testing to support the island’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. According to laboratory head Eka Kartika Sari, the entire process takes five hours, from extracting the sample to getting the result. The laboratory can process up to 80 samples a day. (Thejakartapost.com 01/06/2020)