(1/7/2018) At a press conference held on Monday, January 8, 2018, at the Bali Tourism Board Hospitality Center in Denpasar, a comprehensive overview was presented on efforts underway by tourism stakeholders and various government agencies to rebuild arrival numbers following the 2.5-day airport closure in late November.
Opening the press conference, Anak Agung Yuniartha, Head of Bali Government Tourism Office (Kadiparda), praised the cooperation and significant progress achieved in the relatively short period since the formation of the Bali Tourism Board Hospitality Task Force on October 3, 2017. The resulting teamwork between national, provincial and regional authorities; stakeholder tourism organizations in Bali; police and emergency first responders; disaster mitigation and volcanic agencies; and numerous volunteers has proven essential in firmly setting Bali Tourism on the path to recovery.
In that period, the Bali Tourism Board Hospitality Task Force has established call centers; become a recognized source of reliable information on Bali Tourism and the Mount Agung volcano; countered incorrect and sensational hoax news attacks on Bali; coordinated contingency planning across a range of responders; and assisted the National and Provincial Governments in formulating and implementing recovery strategies.
Following the 2.5-day closure of Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport on Monday, November 27, 2017, Bali experienced a dramatic downturn in visitor numbers precipitating record-low occupancies and attendance levels at Bali hotels and attractions.
In an urgent response by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and members of his Cabinet, a special presidential cabinet meeting was convened in Bali. The President and his cabinet also toured all parts of the Island in the pre-Christmas period. These proactive steps are linked to a sudden increase in bookings that revived booking levels in time for the Christmas and New Years period and provided irrefutable proof that only 2% of the Island’s land mass was at any direct risk of a volcanic eruption and that Bali remains a safe holiday destination.
At the Monday Bali press conference, Made Badra of the Badung Regency Tourism Office and Dezire Mulyani of the Denpasar City Tourism Office announced that in order to preserve the momentum of recovery efforts guarantees of continuing funding from the Badung Regency and Denpasar Municipal Governments are now in place.
Moreover, Ida Bagus Sidharta Putra, the chairman of the Bali Tourism Recovery Committee, is in now in charge of a Rp 100 billion fund from the Ministry of Tourism, 30% of which is reserved for disaster mitigation measures and assistance to travelers in the event a future closure of Bali’s airport due to volcanic activity.
Utilizing lessons learned in handling the brief closure of Bali’s airport in November, a detailed set of procedures and protocols are now in place that will immediately come into effect should Bali’s airport suffer another closure due to volcanic ash.
Should the airport close again, Bali’s Governor, representatives of foreign consulates and the Bali Tourism Board Hospitality Task Force will all set up offices at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport. Island visitors whose flight schedules are interrupted by any airport closure and who decide not to take advantage of free or heavily discounted accommodation offers, can, at their option, report to the airport where convoys of busses under police escort will provide complimentary ground transport to alternate airports in Lombok and Java.
Ida Bagus Agung Partha, chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) and vice-chairman of the BTB Hospitality Task Force, called on all members of the Tourism Community and friends of Bali around the globe to continue their tireless efforts to spread the news that Bali remains a safe holiday destination.
On behalf of Bali tourism, Partha pledged that no effort would be spared by the people of Bali to ensure all visitors enjoy a safe and memorable visit to the world’s best Island holiday destination.