Local News

Indonesian Plans To Provide 5 Year Visa To Work and Stay In Bali

Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister

Once international travel restarts, Indonesia plans to provide incentives to international visitors wishing to stay long term by offering them a five-year visa. Indonesian Tourism Minister Sandiaga Salahudin Uno made the announcement on Monday (8/2).

“The concept is a long term stay, second home visa for a 5-year term. They make a deposit of USD $142,300, (2 billion IRD) per individual or USD $178,000 (2.5 billion IRD) for the whole family. They can invest here, do business, and their visas are renewed every 5 years,” Sandiaga said.

According to his official statement, Sandiaga has communicated this program with the Law and Human Rights Minister, Yasonna Laoly.

The program aims to enable international tourists to stay long term in Indonesia, especially Bali, in efforts to recover the tourism sector. 

Sandiaga plans to target business owners and travelers who are willing to stay at least 3-4 months in Bali, to escape from the cold winters in their native countries. He added that foreign visitors would be able to work in Indonesia under this visa.

“This program could potentially reduce the amount of illegal foreign workers and digital nomads in Bali,” Sandiaga added.

He is currently working out requirements for the program. “We plan to create a concept that makes Bali their second home through the long term visa,” concluded Sandiaga. He plans to implement the program in areas of Indonesia including Bali, Batam, Bintan, and others within the Asean Travel Corridor Framework. (Thebalisun.com 11/02/2021)

2 (Two) foreigners accused of masterminding US$215,000 skimming schemes in Bali

The Bali Police have arrested seven Indonesians in connection with ATM skimming schemes led by foreign nationals that have robbed an estimated US$215,000 from around 1,000 victims.

Ambariyadi Wijaya, deputy director of the special crimes unit at the Bali Police, said that seven national and regional banks across Bali recently reported that their ATM units were broken into late last year. These units were located in tourist spots, gas stations, and quiet areas in Denpasar, Badung, and Gianyar.

The banks reported that their clients have lost upwards of hundreds of millions of rupiah, prompting a formal investigation that led to the arrest of the seven Indonesians, who are members of two different groups.

“There are approximately 1,000 victims, with losses of at least US$215,000 just from one bank. We will continue to input the data and coordinate with the affected banks to figure out their losses,” Ambariyadi said.

Police said the first group, comprising four suspects, worked together with a Bulgarian national convicted of skimming and currently imprisoned in Kerobokan. Three of the suspects were ex-convicts who previously served time alongside the Bulgarian in Kerobokan for drug trafficking, assault, and fraud.

“So there was communication, knowledge transfer and some kind of an agreement. By the time [the ex-convicts] got out, they were the ones on the field,” Ambariyadi said.

Meanwhile, the second group comprised three suspects who were allegedly affiliated with a Malaysian national they had met while working in the neighboring country a few years back. The foreigner taught them ATM skimming, and the group has committed the crime since 2018 across different regions in Indonesia, including Bali, Central Java, and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).

Police have reportedly identified the Bulgarian national, but are still working to identify the Malaysian national.

Authorities reportedly seized more than 2,100 fake ATM cards during the arrests.

The suspects have been charged with articles under Indonesia’s Criminal Code (KUHP) and Information and Electronic Transactions Law (UU ITE), and face a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. (coconuts.co 09/02/2021)

Bali deputy governor proposes ‘free COVID corridor’ plan to attract Chinese tourists

Bali’s deputy governor today said that a “free COVID corridor” program for tourists from China is being proposed to the central government, in what appears to be part of the latest idea to speed up recovery for the province’s battered tourism industry.

In an interview with CNBC Indonesia, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace, said that officials in Bali have moved to propose a number of programs in order to attract more tourists once the COVID-19 situation improves.

The “free COVID corridor” plan, Cok Ace says, comes after seeing the mass vaccination drive in China. According to a report from Bloomberg, the country has administered more than 1 million coronavirus vaccines by Dec. 19, and had announced plans of distributing more.

“So we’re asking for the central government to prioritize vaccines for Bali businesses so that we can attract Chinese tourists to Bali,” Cok Ace said.

Other potential plans in the mix include a potential work or study from Bali campaign, which Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno first promoted last month. With more and more people growing fatigued by the pandemic, Cok Ace noted how some are considering moving temporarily to Bali while they are able to work or study remotely.

Parts of Java and Bali are set to impose a new set of COVID-19 restrictions tomorrow, replacing the Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (PPKM) partial lockdown protocol with “Micro” PPKM, which contains essentially the same restrictions but with enforcement duties handed down to the neighborhood unit (RT) level. (coconuts.co 08/02/2021)

Bali Authorities Hand Out Vegetables While Enforcing Safety Protocols To Villagers

Every day, Tabanan’s Kediri Police trucks patrol the district to enforce safety protocols while blasting reminders through the loudspeaker. The daily task was approached differently on Thursday (4/2), as officers distributed free fresh vegetables to village residents during their patrol.

The initiative was made to help residents and local farmers during this time.

The back of the patrol truck was modified by adding a roof cover as the truck was used to carry a number of agricultural produce from Baturiti farmers.

Residents were given fresh produce while being educated on health and safety compliance.

The Head of Kediri Police Department said that the program was initiated after officers witnessed residents struggling financially after losing their jobs due to the pandemic.

“Working every day in the field gives us a direct insight into the condition of the community. We want to help residents, but without reducing discipline and reinforcement of health protocols. So we discussed with the team and came up with the idea to enforce the rules while providing assistance to the community,” said Kompol Fachmi Hamdani.

“We also want to help our local farmers in Baturiti, especially now as vegetables are being harvested, but not sold. Since many hotels and restaurants lost business or completely shut down, they stopped buying produce from farmers,” Hamdani concluded.

Officers distributed at least 26 packages of vegetables in Buwit Village, Kediri, while providing free masks to by-passers at the same time. (thebalisun.com 05/02/2021)

Bali Officials Conduct Rapid Testing At Night Clubs And Cafes

Bali authorities inspected nightclubs and cafes in Jembrana while conducting rapid antigen testing on-site Saturday evening (6/2). The operation was conducted to verify compliance with safety protocols in Jembrana, and residents found violating the rules were immediately asked by officers to undergo testing.

During the operation initiated by Jembrana police, military, and public civil service, authorities chose to inspect popular cafes and nightclubs where people usually hang out on the weekend.

As a result, they found that many people were ignoring the prevention protocols like mask-wearing and physical distancing.

Officers continued to test noncompliant visitors and staff in efforts to assure that everyone is free from COVID-19.

The Head of Operation from Jembrana Police Department, Kompol I Wayan Sinaryasa, explained that the testing was done, without cost, with the aim to prevent Jembrana from turning into a red zone area.

“We tested 6 visitors and 7 waitresses in that night club, and thankfully they showed negative results,” Sinaryasa said.

He also said that people are still negligent in carrying out physical distancing such places, as they tend to stay close to each other, increasing the risk of transmission.

Apart from the implementation of prevention protocols, authorities also enforced the 8:00 pm curfew set by the provincial government in most areas of Bali. (thebalisun.com 06/02/2021)

Bali economy shrank by 9.31 percent in 2020

The economy in Bali shrank by 9.31 percent year-on-year in 2020, the National Statistics Agency (BPS) announced today, as the coronavirus pandemic brought the tourism-dependent province to a shuddering halt.

In the last quarter of 2020, Bali’s economy shrank by 12.21 percent year-on-year, which represented a 0.94 percent growth from the previous quarter.

BPS cited travel restrictions introduced prior to the year-end holidays as having impacted the local economy, as it resulted in many travelers from other parts of Indonesia cancelling their trips to the island.

“Those [restrictions] really impacted the economy in the fourth quarter of 2020 for Bali province,” Hanif Yahya, who heads the BPS office in Bali, said during a press conference earlier today.

BPS also today announced that Indonesia’s economy contracted by 2.07 percent year-on-year in 2020, the first annual contraction since the 1998 financial crisis.

By the end of the third quarter of 2020, Bali and the Nusa Tenggara islands were the hardest hit regions in Indonesia amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) said that at least 60 hotels across the province are being put up for sale due to continued decline in occupancy rates.(coconuts.co 05/02/2021)

At least 60 hotels in Bali up for sale due to COVID-19 struggles: hotel association

At least 60 hotels across Bali are being put up for sale due to continued decline in occupancy rates, as the province reportedly hemorrhages about IDR10 trillion (US$711 million) in losses monthly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rai Suryawijaya, who heads the Badung chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), said the number of hotels may continue to rise.

“Because the occupancy rate is very low, only between five and seven percent […] [Hotel owners] are also unable to pay their debts to the bank. Though there’s been some leniency, they still have to pay,” Suryawijaya said.

Suryawijaya did not specify which hotels in Bali are up for sale, but noted that the list comprises hotels of various star ratings.

The tourism industry in Bali has lost up to IDR10 trillion a month since the beginning of the pandemic, the Tourism Agency said this week, and many businesses are struggling to survive alongside official efforts to tackle the public health crisis.

“The numbers will rise, it is possible. There’s a big possibility that if [the COVID-19 pandemic] continues longer, many will go bankrupt,” Suryawijaya said. (coconuts.co 05/02/2021)

Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno invites people to ‘work from Bali’

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno has invited people to work and study from Bali, as the official began dividing his own office hours to work from the island this week.

Sandiaga started working from Bali yesterday, after he previously announced his plan to be more involved with Bali’s tourism industry recovery amid the pandemic.

“I want to invite business people and other professionals to start considering working from Bali,” Sandiaga said.

The minister said he’s looking into potential policies on “work from Bali” and “study from Bali,” which are still being discussed with local officials as well as the COVID-19 task force.

Sandiaga said that people can work while enjoying the beauty in Bali, which would also help the province’s battered tourism industry.

“There are two functions here, we can be more efficient while enjoying nature in Bali but also helping our tourism and creative economy sector,” Sandiaga said.

He further described getting a “thrill” from working in Bali, which he says improves work efficiency, later adding that being in Bali is lifting up his spirits. (coconuts.co 30/01/2021)

Grab’s Technology to Enhance Holiday Experience in 5 “New Balis”

What better way to boost mid-pandemic tourism experience than to use technology? The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry is teaming up with tech giant Grab to enhance the tourism experience in the five super-priority tourist destinations.

Bali is undoubtedly among the world’s top tourist destinations and Indonesia’s backbone for tourism. Bali Government Tourism Office revealed in 2019, around 6.27 million foreign tourists directly visited the island, accounting for 38.96 percent of the direct foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia.

Multiplying the “Bali effect” in other destinations would take national tourism to greater heights.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has selected five destinations to be built as the “new Balis”, namely Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Borobudur in Central Java, Likupang in North Sulawesi, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara, and Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara.

Unfortunately, the virus outbreak has dealt a fatal blow to the tourism sector. Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno, however, ensured the new Balis plan is still on despite the pandemic. It is also among the government’s strategies to bring the Covid-wrecked tourism back to life.

“As instructed by President Jokowi, this will be a tough year and so we are focusing on preparing the five super-priority destinations,” Sandiaga said in a recent statement.

The preparation goes beyond infrastructure. The ministry is looking to boost the tourism experience in these destinations, especially in the times of a pandemic.

“Not just infrastructure or transportation, we will work on the tourism experience. We have prepared programs and collaborated with various parties to disseminate the cleanliness, health, safety, and environment sustainability [CHSE] protocols,” Sandiaga said.

In response, Grab offers several initiatives that can potentially boost tourism in the five super-priority destinations. According to Grab Indonesia president Ridzki Kramadibrata, implementing digital tourism via Grab Travel Pass can give a new touch to the holiday experience.

“Not only for booking rides, but tourists can order food, book hotels and attraction tickets, and access telemedicine. We provide all these things in one digital package,” Ridzki said.

To support environmentally-friendly tourism, Grab has a fleet of of 5,000 electric vehicle (EV) units, ranging from cars, motorcycles and scooters. The EV cars are already available in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Tangerang.

“E-scooters would be suitable for tourist destinations such as the Borobudur Temple,” he said.

Grab’s plastic-partitioned online taxis, GrabCar Protect and GrabBike Protect, can help regain people’s trust to travel to the five super-priority destinations amid the virus outbreak. The decacorn will also continue to get more of their GrabFood partners CHSE-certified via their GrabMerchant app, Ridzki added.

In addition, Grab will also collaborate to accelerate digital transformation for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the creative economy sector. This aligns with the government’s initiatives #BeliKreatifLokal (‘Buy Local Products’) and #BanggaBuatanIndonesia (‘Proud of Indonesian Products’) to help MSMEs survive the pandemic. (Jakartaglobe.id 04/02/2021)