April 29, 2021

No bookings from foreign tourists for July reopening says deputy gov. + Domestic tourists' contribution higher than foreign tourists' says tourism minister + 10 killed in gun battle in Papua + more!

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Weather & Waves

Today’s Weather for Southern Bali

Today’s Tides

Local Covid Numbers

*Note: There was a slight rise in new Covid-19 cases in Bali yesterday (166) after Tuesday's 150. The 7-day average was 131 (but it was dragged down by the plunge in new recorded cases over Kuningan). Jembrana was the only regency to record no new cases. Fatalities remained stable with 10 deaths.

Click here to see the national numbers infographic and a Regency-by-Regency breakdown of yesterday’s local numbers.

The Big News

"Bali Opens Tourism in July 2021, the Deputy Governor Reveals That There Are No Bookings From Foreign Tourists" from Bisnis Bali (Indonesian): The Bali government assesses that the opening of international tourism in mid-July 2021 has been greeted with high enthusiasm by foreign tourists. Although, until now there have been no bookings made by foreign tourists. Deputy Governor of Bali Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati said that his party has not been able to confirm or predict the number of foreign tourists who will visit Bali at the opening of tourism in July 2021.  According to him, the condition of the increasing spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in a number of countries, such as India, has become a consideration for foreign tourists to decide to vacation in Bali. "We still see, it is not important for us to how many or the large number of [tourists who will visit Bali], let's try it gradually so that it can be evaluated little by little."

"Do Not Underestimate Domestic Tourists, Their Contribution Passes Contributions From Foreign Tourists" from Nusa Bali(Indonesian): Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy (Parekraf) Sandiaga Uno said that the latest Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data showed that the contribution of local tourists to the economy in Indonesia is more valuable than the contribution of foreign tourists. "The contribution of domestic tourists to the economy is Rp. 1,400 to Rp. 1,500 trillion, almost 5% of our GDP. Meanwhile, the contribution of foreign tourists is only Rp. 275 trillion to Rp. 300 trillion." Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) Erick Thohir emphasized the importance of attracting local tourists with improved services and facilities for post-Covid-19 national economic recovery. "78% of occupancy or the number of visits in tourist areas comes from local tourists. We are still half-hearted to serve local tourists," said Erick.

"Police Say 10 Killed in Gun Battle With Papua Rebels" from Agence France-Presse: Authorities said the gun battle between police and rebels in Papua was an apparent retaliation for the execution of a local intelligence chief. The hours-long shootout Tuesday in remote Puncak district ended with nine guerrillas and a police officer dead, while two more officers were wounded, police said. "We ambushed the area after confirming their whereabouts," said Papua police spokesman Sr. Comr. Ahmad Musthofa Kamal. Police believed the dozens-strong rebel faction was responsible for the Sunday slaying of Brig. Gen. I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha, who headed Papua's intelligence agency.  But rebel group spokesman Sebby Sambom dismissed the report of rebels being killed as a 'big lie' and 'propaganda'. AFP could not independently verify the claim by security forces.

Context: On Tuesday we included this story about the head of Papua's Intelligence Agency being shot dead in the Papuan highlands on Sunday.

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Other Headlines

"Food and Beverage Sector Drops 92%: Deputy Governor" from Radar Bali (Indonesian): Deputy Governor of Bali, Prof. Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace, stated that the economic sector in Bali in 2020 contracted by 9.31%. More specifically, he said there were three sectors that were most affected, namely food and drink and accommodation at 92.47%, the service sector at 90.90%, and the transportation and trade sectors at 90.34%. According to Cok Ace, microfinance institutions have a very strategic role in efforts to recover the economy of Bali.

Vaccination Update

Health Protocols (Prokes) & Patrols

"Five Indian Nationals Detained for Violating Quarantine Law" from Antara: Jakarta Metropolitan Police have arrested five Indian nationals on charges of enlisting a quarantine mafia service to enter Indonesia without having to undergo quarantine. "The Soekarno-Hatta Airport police submitted five police reports that allegedly indicate seven suspects. Five of them (the detainees) have been named suspects," chief of the public relations bureau of the Jakarta Metropolitan Police, Senior Commissioner Yusri Yunus, said. The quarantine mafia put the data of foreign nationals into the database of the Quarantine Task Force until they are ready to depart for the hotel designated as their quarantine site, Yunus said. By the time the Quarantine Task Force arrives to transport the foreign nationals to the quarantine site, the mafia manage to take them away in a car or taxi.


Economy & Infrastructure


"Indonesian Pediatrician Association Yet to Recommend Face-to-face Learning in Schools" from Antara: The Association's General Chairperson, Prof. Dr Aman B. Pulungan SpA (K), stated that the requirements for reopening schools were controlled local transmission marked by a positivity rate of below 5% and a decline in the death rate. If face-to-face learning continues, the organizer must make preparations for blended learning, and the choice should be left to the children and parents to decide between offline and online learning methods. "Teachers and schools need to look for new innovations in the teaching and learning process, for instance, by applying learning systems in open spaces, such as in parks, fields, or outdoors," he stated. Meanwhile, teachers and school officials interacting with children and parents or caregivers must be vaccinated. School entry and return hours should be scheduled gradually to avoid overcrowding of students, and supervision must be conducted in a disciplined manner to avoid crowds at school gates.


Tourism Figures

"The First Quarter of 2021 is the Most Challenging Period for the Tourism Industry: Bali Hotels Association" from Tribun Bali (Indonesian): Chairperson of BHA Jean Heliere said, "Any subsequent delays and restrictions will affect the tourism industry's ability to bounce back." In its 2021 First Quarter report, BHA outlines the actions being taken to assist its members and Bali's tourism recovery. They start from educational and community support programs, the latest social media campaigns, environmental sustainability programs, and providing accurate information. IBHA is also working with other tourism stakeholders to assist in vaccinations for tourism sector workers. More than 90,000 tourism workers registered as recipients of the first dose. 25 BHA member hotels and resorts volunteered to become places for vaccination, providing their facilities and personnel. "As Bali reopens for international tourism, BHA has adjusted our efforts to focus more on supporting communities, the environment and the education of fellow industry workers," said Jean Heliere.

"Indonesian Lab Workers Arrested as Police Find Reused Test Kits" from Coconuts Jakarta: Police have arrested employees at a Kimia Farma lab at Kualanamu International Airport in North Sumatra, who allegedly reused antigen rapid test kits on customers to cut costs. An undercover cop signed up for the antigen rapid test and had his samples taken with a nasal swab. Some 10 minutes later, the lab presented a positive test result for the cop. Sensing something was amiss, police officers then raided the lab and found hundreds of used swab test kits that were going to be prepared for reuse. Authorities said that the swabs — which must be sterile before they are inserted into the nostrils — were washed and cleaned after use, and repackaged before they were reused on other passengers. It’s not immediately clear how many people, on average, a single swab was used on.

"4 Arrested in Indonesia Hotel Quarantine Bribery Case" from Coconuts Jakarta: The Jakarta Metro Police has arrested one more suspect accused of receiving a bribe to help a traveler circumvent mandatory hotel quarantine, bringing the total number of suspects in the case to four. Yesterday, the Jakarta Metro Police announced the arrest of another man known as GC, who held a key role in the scheme. It’s not clear what the suspects’ actual jobs are, but police found Soekarno-Hatta Airport ID passes from the Jakarta Tourism Agency [for two of them], which may explain how they managed to freely move about the airport. The police are still open to the possibility that this case could be an entry point to a larger bribery scheme involving an organized crime syndicate that helps returning travelers circumvent mandatory isolation for a fee.

Context: Yesterday we included this story about the arrest of an Indonesian traveler who paid two people who claimed to be airport staff IDR6.5 million (US$448.39) to skip the 14-day hotel quarantine mandatory for Indonesians returning from India.

"Indonesia's 5-day Quarantine Rule Too Risky Amid Case Resurgence, New Variant: Experts" from The Jakarta Post (Metered Paywall): Amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases globally and growing concerns of more transmissible coronavirus variants, doubts have been raised as to whether Indonesia's quarantine policy would be sufficient in protecting the country from these threats. Current rules require international travelers to quarantine for five days upon arriving in Indonesia, but travel from India is now an exception due to the country's world record-breaking daily coronavirus cases. Experts such as epidemiologist Dicky Budiman of Australia's Griffith University say that the restrictions are not tight enough and have called on the government to require all inbound international travelers — regardless of their point of departure — to undergo the same 14-day quarantine period. They emphasized that there was no scientific evidence supporting the five-day quarantine policy.

Of Interest

How You Can Help

In response to the collapse of the tourism sector in Bali and the resulting economic crisis, dozens of individuals and organizations have sprung into action, raising funds and distributing badly needed food and everyday essentials to the innumerable families who have suddenly found themselves without any source of income. We've been making an effort to document and raise awareness of these efforts. We will add information on projects in this space as we are able to confirm them. If you'd like to see a list of the efforts that we've featured so far and contribute to them with either time or money, visit our complete list here. You can also see a list of projects that have registered themselves at BaliSolidarity.org. If you know of an effort and would like to have them listed, please send their information to TheBaliBeat@outlanders.global.

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