Bali is on track to have the busiest Christmas and New Year holiday season since 2018. Yet, bad weather conditions across the island are impacting tourist activities. Heavy rains and storms over the last three days have meant that visitors to Bali’s iconic beaches have dropped. This has caused concern for local business owners who were banking on a busy festive period.
The Chairperson of the Kuta Traditional Village Beach Task Force, Wayan Sirna, told reporters that the number of visitors to the beach has decreased since Friday 24th December; just at the moment visits should be steeply increasing.
He explained, “For the level of visits, to be honest yesterday, because there was extreme weather, visits greatly decreased, there weren’t even any visitors for two days, and the traders here were closed for two days.”
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He noted that the drop in the number of people enjoying Kuta Beach is significant; over 25%. Sirna told reporters on Tuesday morning, “Before the extreme weather, the number of visitors was around 3,000 to 4,000 people. Currently, there are visitors, but we cannot predict the exact number; maybe around 800 visitors, and some traders have started to reopen. Hopefully, by the afternoon, the number of visits will be even more crowded”.
Despite concern for local businesses, Sirna urges travelers to prioritize safety at the beach, especially during bad weather. He said, “The wind has started to get a bit harsh and the waves are also not very friendly, even for tourists who bathe. We urge not to carry out activities in the water, the traders too. This means that traders can also convey this to tourists, and we have informed them like that”
In fact, red flags have been installed at the most dangerous points along Kuta Beach. Sirna explained, “If the red flag is posted, it means the sea water or sea waves are very strong, which means it is very dangerous, it’s a warning. This has also been continuously monitored by the balawista [lifeguards]”.
One beach vendor told reports how the bad weather had affected his business and profits. Muhammad Alfin Maulana sells coconuts on Kuta Beach and had to close his stall over the weekend. He explained how much of a difference the weather can make to his sales.
“If the stall is not open temporarily due to extreme weather, but [tourists] still come to the stall to see the situation. If it’s crowded, 15 to 16 young coconuts can be sold. However, if the weather is rainy or cloudy, sometimes 5 coconuts are sold or not even sold at all. The price for foreign tourists is IDR 40,000, for local tourists IDR 30,000. At the moment I am just resigned to the situation but hopefully, after this there will be more and more visitors”.
Bad weather in the open waters off Bali is continuing to play havoc with transportation services to the outlying islands. On the 24th and 25th of December, fast boat services from Padang Bai in Bali to the Gili Islands, Lombok, and Nusa Penida were temporarily paused due to storms and high waves.
On the 26th of December, services resumed once again, but on Tuesday 27th of December, services were paused once again, pending a daily review of conditions at sea.
Travelers heading to the Gili Islands, Nusa Penida, or Lombok from Padang Bai are advised by transportation authorities to book onto ferry services, rather than fast boat services, until the weather front settles.
The Head of the Padangbai Harbor and Port Authority (KSOP) Ni Luh Putu Eka Suyasmin said, “Because of the strong winds, we finally decided to temporarily close [fast boat servives] due to safety considerations…Because there are also high waves in the northern Lombok Strait, Gili Trawangan also does not dare to open fast boat crossings”
He continued to explain that he and his teams would monitor the situation and make sure to prioritize public safety. He advised travelers to travel by ferry where possible. He said, “For normal crossing ferries. It’s safe. There have been no problems until now”.
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