JAKARTA — Tourism is the beating heart of Bali’s economy as around 60 percent of the island’s gross regional product (PDRB) comes from the travel industry.
Unfortunately, tourism is one of the sectors hardest-hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, affecting the lives of Bali residents and changing the way people visit the island.
According to Indonesian Tourist Industry Association (GIPI) data, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in Bali dropped by 93.24 percent in April. Since this has greatly affected the economy, the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) in Bali has pleaded with the government to complete the so-called “new normal” protocol stipulations by the end of the month and reopen the island to tourists by July to prevent travel companies from collapsing.
Tourism stakeholders, such as the Bali Hotels Association, an organization with over 158 members, comprising general managers of hotels and resorts on the island, have also prepared new protocols to welcome travelers. The association representative told The Jakarta Post via email that they had prepared health and safety guidelines for hotels, while also conducting a publicity campaign on Bali, which is aimed at reminding the world’s travelers about the island.
Here are several things that travelers can expect to experience during their next trip to Bali.
Buffet no more
Social distancing will be commonly practiced in every part of the island. However, hotels such as Belmond Jimbaran Puri, The Mulia, Mulia Resorts and Villas, Nusa Dua, and the Marriott hotel chain have also prepared other protocols to ensure their guests’ health and safety.
Belmond Jimbaran Puri, slated to reopen on July 1, will be applying an online check-in process and adjustments to dining and housekeeping services.
“Guests who have booked with us directly will be able to complete the check-in process online prior to arrival,” said Belmond Jimbaran Puri general manager Charles Kneipp.
As for the dining experience, Kneipp said that guests could opt for breakfast served by a dedicated butler in their villa or outdoors at the hotel’s Nelayan restaurant. The property will also be replacing menu books with chalkboards or a single-use menu made of recyclable material.
With regard to housekeeping, Kneipp mentioned that the staff members would refrain from entering rooms while guests are present.
The Mulia, Mulia Resort and Villas will also apply similar protocols. In addition to sanitizing all areas, keeping social distancing and maintaining hygiene, the property will insist that guests shower before entering the pool or using spa facilities and use hand sanitizer before using equipment, anyone who is sick may not use these facilities.
As for the Marriott hotel chain, the company’s marketing vice president for Indonesia Ramesh Jackson said that the organization had created the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council, which focuses on developing the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards to minimize risk and enhance safety for guests and associates.
“We are rolling out enhanced technologies over the next few months and also adding more hand sanitizer stations near high-traffic areas,” said Jackson, adding that the hotel chains were also testing ultraviolet light technology to sanitize room keys and devices shared by staff members.
Beach clubs with new protocols
Beach clubs, such as Karma Beach Bali in Badung and Artotel Beach Club in Sanur, are among the most popular tourist attractions in Bali.
The former has reopened to guests, starting June 20. In a recent interview with the Post, Karma Group founder and chairman John Spence said it would practice social distancing and ensure reduced density in Karma Beach. Now, the club proudly welcomes guests and claims to be “the most socially distancing aware private beach in Bali.”
Artotel Beach Club has yet to announce its reopening date. However, the management has started working with new protocols.
Artotel Group corporate director of marketing communications, Yulia Maria, said that to practice social distancing, it planned to reduce the capacity of the beach club. The club will run almost the same as in pre-COVID-19 days, however, it will now be mandatory for guests to wear face masks while in the hotel and restaurant areas.
Safer dine-in restaurants
Bali is also home to many international restaurants. While some eateries are still offering takeaway services, Mozaic Restaurant in Ubud is now implementing new protocols.
Helmed by Chris Salan, the restaurant now conducts body temperature screening tests for both guests and staff members.
It also applies 2-meter distancing between guests and staff members. To ensure hygiene, the staff members are required to wear face masks, goggles and gloves.
Dancers armed with hand sanitizers
Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park, home to the iconic 21-story monument depicting Hindu deity Vishnu, in Badung regency, has also prepared new protocols.
The park’s marketing communication and event general manager Andre R. Prawiradisastra said during a recent virtual event held by travel media DestinAsian Indonesia that they would also apply social distancing, provide hand sanitizers for visitors and conduct body temperature screening.
“There will be dancers distributing hand sanitizers to visitors,” said Andre.