What Crisis?

Deputy Regent in Badung, South Bali Insists Bali Remains Safe with Systems in Place to Handle the Coronavirus Outbreak.

The Deputy Regent of Badung in Bali, I Ketut Suiasa, told Beritabali.com that he sees no evidence of any impact from the coronavirus outbreak on his region’s tourism – widely regarded as “the heart” of the Island’s tourism industry.

Suisa told the press that working in coordination with tourism practitioners, relevant experts, community organizations (LSM), the Central Government, and Regency Officials - many necessary steps have been put in place to meet the current challenge posed by the coronavirus.

Chief among those steps have been measures to eradicate public fear and the panic affecting many other nations, including China. 

“At this time, we need to think about medicating the virus and also remedying those who fear the disease and its possible effect on tourism arrivals. Right now, we have encountered no one who is sick. But we are facing a general fear of travel among visitors,” said Suisa on Friday, February 14, 2020, accompanied by the Head of the Badung Regency Health Service, Dr. I Nyoman Gunarta, and the director the Mangusada District Hospital, Dr. I Ketet Japa.

Health officials are working in Badung to inspect and surveil tourism areas, including checks taking place at tourism accommodation locations. “Until this point in time, we have no confirmed cases of coronavirus,” said Suisa.

Preventative steps also include close coordination by Badung officials with the Ngurah Rai Airport Authority Angkasa Pura, who are screening all arriving passengers. Similar controls are in place and operating at Bali’s seaports.

In the event authorities encounter a suspected case of coronavirus, hospitals in Bali have isolation wards ready to treat the sick in select areas separate from the general hospital population. Trained medical personnel are also in place together with medical equipment and supplies needed to face a local outbreak of coronavirus. 

“The Badung Regency remains safe. I need to tell the public there is no need to feel worried about visiting Bali, especially the Regency of Badung,” said Suisa.

The Central Government of Indonesia to compensate for the lost number of Chinese visitors is making available new fight slots for airlines wishing to fly to main tourism destinations in Indonesia, such as Bali. 

Loose Research?

Suisa then made a statement that does not seem to be grounded in fact: “A few years ago, Indian tourists dominated Bali arrivals, greater in number than the Chinese. However, because of the termination of direct flights between Bali and India, the total number of Indians tourists declined,” Suisa proclaimed.

Based on data collated by Balidiscovery.com, Suisa’s command of the facts is concerning. While Indian tourist numbers have grown steadily over the past several years, there is no period since Chinese travel abroad was allowed between China and Indonesia that Indian arrivals outnumber the Chinese. Moreover, there has been no period in recent memory when Indian visitors to Bali or Indonesia declined due to the suspension of direct flights.

Ticket Prices 

Suisa is urging that ticket prices be reduced for travel to Bali from both domestic and international points of origin to stimulate growth in tourism. 

Critical of current measures underway to deal with the downturn in tourist arrivals in Bali, Suisa suggests that for the future, pre-planned, majors systems are in place to be activated whenever a natural disaster, such as the coronavirus, strikes again.

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