As the G20 Summit and surrounding events come to a close, Bali can reflect on an overwhelmingly successful event. Despite a handful of protests and a few moments of gridlocked traffic, the biggest political event ever to be held on the island was delivered without an issue.
Ministers and officials in Indonesia have been pinning all hopes on the G20 being the final piece of the puzzle regarding Bali’s economic recovery from the pandemic. As world leaders and their delegations head home, hotels in the Nusa Dua area can breathe a sigh of relief. Having welcomed some of the most important guests they will ever host, hotels can now assess whether all the work has been financially viable.
It has been estimated that hotels in the Nusa Dua area will have cashed in over IDR 30 billion in revenue, individually, in the last week. This converts to around US 1.9 million, with even more hotels across Bali hosting G20-related guests.
Hotels and grand resorts in Nusa Dua hosted the conference itself, world leaders, and their delegations. The main hotel used for accommodation was the Apurva Kempinski Bali. The 5-star hotel has long been the destination of choice for VIP visitors to Bali and can now boast that they have hosted world leaders too. Described as ‘the epitome of Bali’s beachfront luxury’, the Apurva Kempinski offers an extensive range of exquisite rooms, suites, and villas.
The Head of the Advisory Council for G20 accommodation, I Nyoman Astama, told reporters, “If the hotel is small and it’s not in Nusa Dua, it can generate IDR 2-3 billion (USD 1.9m) in revenue, that’s good. We’re talking about the period November 14-17, 3 nights and four days”.
The Deputy Chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Bali I Gusti Ngurah Rai Suryawijaya, confirmed the estimates shared by Atsama. Suryawijaya confirmed that US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping each hired out an entire hotel from the 15th to the 17th of Bali. He noted that twenty-four hotels were used in the Nusa Dua area during the event, all of which were fully booked this week.
The chairman said, “Oh yes, it’s normal for the presidents to rents one full hotel. Big countries actually block one hotel… “So far, those who already know America are certain, because the delegation is the largest. They bring many delegations, including B20. Being CEOs and all kinds, and China too”.
While Nusa Dua has received an injection of cash and global media attention, other areas of Bali have been overlooked and are suffering as a result. In the last few weeks, hotels in east Bali have shared that bookings are looking low for the New Year holiday period. Hotels and guesthouses in the north of Bali have noted a slight increase in booking for the end-of-year holidays but have shared their concerns that room occupancy will still fall way below pre-pandemic levels.
Shop owners in Uluwatu have shared their experiences of stunted economic recovery too. While areas like Kuta, Legian, Canggu, Ubud, and now Nusa Dua too are nearly back to pre-pandemic visitor numbers, Uluwatu appears to be lagging behind. Souvenir shop owner, Nyoman Satriani, told reports this week how he is taking home less than half of his pre-pandemic income.
Satriani said, “Currently, sometimes I get IDR 200,000, but one day I don’t get any sales at all. I have to remain grateful no matter how much I get because I’m still in the recovery stage too…The most frequently purchased are sculptures, Balinese fabrics, bracelets, or other souvenirs. There are no items that are dominantly sold because the guests have different tastes”.
He shared that he thinks tourists’ shopping habits have changed “Initially open guests who come here just have a look. But it’s starting to get busy in August until now…From the beginning of opening until now, it is still not as normal as it was before the pandemic. Sometimes there are people who shop, sometimes they don’t at all”.
Only time will tell if the legacy of the G20 will have a fair and equally positive impact on tourism across the island. Though the Ministry for Tourism is actively promoting lesser-visited areas of the island and investing in the diversification of tourism businesses, there is a great imbalance to address.
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