The tourism sector in Bali is just finding its feet again after a devastating two years from the Covid-19 pandemic. With the impacts of a global recession looming, tourism businesses in Bali have been discussing how to protect themselves against further economic disasters. Though Bali’s on track to smash tourism targets for 2022, what lies ahead is concerning to say the least.
In August, Bali’s inflation rate hit 6.38%, the sixth highest across Indonesia. The figures, confirmed by Deputy Head of Bank Indonesia for Bali, Gusti Agung Diah Utari, in early October, came with a prediction of a global recession in 2023. With more and more data suggesting a global recession is imminent, tourism businesses in Bali have come together to discuss how to move forward.
Hotel managers, marketing specialists, and hospitality workers joined a panel event at the Natys Restaurant in late October to discuss the future of tourism in Bali. This week the conclusions of the panel discussion have been shared publicly so that the tourism sector on the island can draw on the collective wisdom. The event, titled Hospitality & Tourism in Recession 2023, ARE WE READY?’ It was a resounding success.
Panel leaders included Manuh Artana, the Sales Manager of BLiP, and Hasan Bisri, the General Manager of FRii Echo Beach Hotel. The discussion was chaired by Sofian Hadi from Corporate Marketing Communication BLiP. The event aimed to bring together tourism experts to explore topics important to the industry to help establish solutions to current and future problems, no matter how big or small.
Offering insights from an economic perspective, Agus Helly, Financial Advisor of LINTAR Financial & Ngopi Pintar talked about the impact of inflation in Bali.
He said, ‘The cause of the recession is inflation, which started with Covid-19, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and rising oil prices. The average inflation in the world is at a high rate (10%). Even some countries have reached hyperinflation or inflation at a rate above 100%. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s inflation is in the position of 5.9% after previously rising from 2%, which means Indonesia is not that bad in terms of inflation compared to some other countries’.
Despite the potential financial difficulties, Hasan Bisri, the General Manager of Echo Hotel, explained that being prepared is key. He said that taking a sustainable approach to the hospitality business is crucial, as well as cooperating with communities that reside around tourism businesses.
The group created five key points for tourism businesses to focus on in the coming year. These are putting forward an optimistic attitude and spirit of collaboration, focusing on digital marketing, supporting the domestic market, and focusing on sustainable hospitality.
In terms of establishing optimism, the panel discussion concluded that although MICE businesses may only be selling at 50% of capacity in Bali in the coming year, this all could change. They urged the tourism business to remain optimistic in the face of the global recession. Regarding the spirit of collaboration, they talked about mapping situations and creating solutions as a sector rather than having individual businesses struggling alone.
All agreed that digital marketing would be essential, noting that both soft sell and hard selling techniques will be needed. The Badung Tourism Board has already confirmed that they will partner with content creators in the coming year to ‘aggressively promote’ tourism in the regency. It is noteworthy that the panel suggested a focus on the domestic market, especially after Indonesia’s Tourism Minister called for businesses in Bali to respect and value domestic visitors.
Finally, a focus on sustainable tourism is not only on trend but vital for the island of Bali. With flash flooding in the west of the island, water scarcity in the east, and nearly three years of reduced tourism arrivals, sustainability is key for the future of tourism in Bali in every way conceivable.
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