After being closed for nearly eight months due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Monkey Forest’s popular Bali attraction in the Village of Padangtegal, Ubud, was reopened on Thursday 05 November 2020.
Ubud’s reopening of the sacred Monkey Forest is hoped to spark business in Ubud area markets, art shops, restaurants, and hotels.
The official reopening of the Padamgtegal Monkey Forest was officiated over by Bali’s Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati (Cok Ace), who concurrently serves as the chairman of the Provincial Bali Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI-Bali). As reported by NusaBali, the reopening was marked by the cutting of a ceremonial ribbon followed by a walking tour of the forest by officials who simultaneously uploaded pictures and comments to their social media accounts.
The general manager of the Monkey Forest, I Nyoman Sutarjana, said the reopening festivities were held in cooperation with the Ubud Hotel Association (UHA).
Cok Ace told NusaBali that he hopes the Monkey Forest’s reopening would generate more visitors to Bali’s markets, art shops, restaurants, and hotels. Commenting: “It’s unfortunate to see Ubud so quiet, restaurants and art shops are closed, and hotels are not operating. Because of this, we welcome the Monkey Forest’s reopening so that others can also soon reopen. Let is rise up together.”
Coke Ace proclaimed now is Bali tourism’s time to reopen, even though the COVID-19 Pandemic has yet to be irradicated. Based on the data, the rate of cured cases of COVID-19 in Bali is the best in all of Indonesia. Cok Ace said this was extraordinary, mainly due to the public’s compliance with health and safety protocols.
Coke Ace said he remains confident that Bali’s tourism visits will surge higher once tourism objects in Bali reopen for business. The deputy governor said evidence of the coming surge in domestic tourism was seen in activities surrounding the long holiday weekend in late October 2020.
Bali’s Deputy-Governor said Bali is faced with two distinct choices. It can wait for the COVID-19 Pandemic to pass before reopening for tourism or can reopen now and prepare to co-exist with the continuing situation. “I think it is better to prepare beforehand, open tourism objects, and allow the art shops to reopen. This needs to be done for our brothers and sisters in Bali,” said Cok Ace.
Sutarjana echoes Cok Ace’s comments, saying the Ubud Monkey Forest was an icon of area tourism, hoping its reopening would precipitate Ubud tourism’s reinvigoration.
The Ubud Monkey Forest management has installed washbasins throughout the Park, employed thermal temperature monitoring devices, and requires all working and visiting the Park to wear masks.
Sutarjana said officials working at the Park would also ensure that visitors do not accumulate in clusters where contagion might occur.
Before the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, an average of 6,000 people visited the monkey forest each day, 95% of whom were foreign visitors. Following health protocols, the maximum number allowed to visit the Monkey Forest is limited to 2,000 people.
The Padangtegal Monkey Forest covers 26-hectares. The Park employs 200 workers with a monthly operating budget of Rp. 120 million, part of which is used to purchase food for the thousands of monkeys who live at the attraction.