Officials in Bali have been quick to make improvements to tourist experiences after a series of inflammatory and baseless comments have been circulating online. Despite the lack of truth behind the comments, Bali officials have been proactive to ensure that the island’s image as a safe and comfortable destination for tourism remains intact.
The first accusation came from a travel blogger named Sebastian Powell, who earlier in August accused Bali Airport of having ‘massive’ queues that took 5 hours to clear. The second was from Australian Senator Pauline Hanson who accused Bali of being covered in cow dung.
The comments have both been confirmed to be baseless. Powell was invited to promptly leave Indonesia after officials discovered that his processing time upon landing in Bali was just 53-minutes. Senators in Bali have also called for the local government to contact the Australian consulate for a formal apology to repair any potential damage caused by Hanson’s comments.
The comments from travel blogger Powell led Bali’s Deputy Governor to visit Ngurah Rai International to see for himself whether the accusations in Powell’s blog were true. During his visit the Deputy Governor of Bali, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace inspected the process at immigration and enquired about wait times for passengers.
Cok Ace told reporters during his visit on the 2nd August ‘Indeed, the passenger’s goods [luggage] seem to take a long time to process, between 30 minutes to 1 hour. But I have asked and hope that the process of waiting for passenger goods can be accelerated. This is not anyone’s fault, but the mechanism is like that’.
An official from Bali Airport confirmed that queues can be expected at peak hours, like on a Friday afternoon, but that as Cok Ace was told, queues rarely exceed an hour and a half and many travelers get through the arrivals process quickly and easily.
At the end of his visit, Cok Ace requested that Bali Airport teams install additional seats in the arrival hall. The investment in better seating in the arrivals hall is hoped to increase comfort for travelers across the board.
Cok Ace requested the increased seating options to provide a comfortable place to rest for anyone who would find standing in any length of the queue a challenge like those with disabilities, young families, or anyone not feeling well.
This week Cok Ace’s request has been granted. 100 additional seats were sent to Ngurah Rai International Airport by Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, and the CEO of PT Privy, Marshall Pribadi. The General Manager of Ngurah Rai Airport, Handy Heryudhityawan, told local reporters that the chairs will be placed throughout the arrivals area, including around immigration so that anyone who needs to use them can do so.
Minister Uno told reporters that ‘The 100 seats that are presented are to help tourists feel comfortable’. He is focused on delivering on the requests of tourism stakeholders as quickly as possible. He believes that small investments in the tourism sector like the installation of the chairs all plays an important role in capitalizing on the momentum of the tourism sector’s economic revival.
He is also committed to diversifying the tourism economy across Indonesia and supporting micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises across the country. During a press conference on Monday, Minister Uno confirmed that the economy in Bali grew by 3.04% in the last quarter. He stated that transportation, accommodation, and the food and beverage sectors were the leading contributors to Bali’s economic recovery.
Bali Airport is currently undergoing renovations in preparation for the G20 Summit that is being held in November. This includes the construction of a VVIP terminal to welcome world leaders and their delegations. It is hoped that these developments will help prevent any inconvenience for travelers during the international conference.
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