The Deputy British Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste, Matt Downing, has visited the Deputy Mayor of Denpasar, I Kadek Agust Arya Wibawa, to discuss the future of tourism between the UK and Bali. During his visit to Bali, Downing also met with the Deputy Governor of Bali, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace, to discuss the Special Economic Zone for health in Sanur. The visit has been considered a resounding success, with the UK pleading to support and promote Bali to its citizens.
During the meeting with Deputy Mayor Wibawa, Downing explained, “Bali has always been one of the top destinations for British tourists, but due to the pandemic, the number of visits is still quite low, but we see the number starting to increase. And we in the UK will see what we can do to encourage people to return to traveling overseas.
He added that the UK government is promoting Bali and Indonesia more broadly as safe places to visit. He continued, “we convey to our residents that Bali is safe, and they will enjoy their holidays in Bali.” Downing admitted that the war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis are both having an effect on UK citizens’ decisions to travel abroad.
The Deputy Ambassador said, “this war has resulted in high living costs in England, starting from energy prices, electricity prices have increased, food prices have also increased. So many Britons are more focused on energy and food spending while holidays are less of a priority”.
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Matt Downing’s meetings in Bali are part of his first official visit to the island. Speaking to the press after the meeting with Deputy Mayor Wibawa, Downing described the nature of the discussions. He said, “this is my first visit as deputy ambassador of the UK, to Bali and to Denpasar. I’m going to be here for a couple of days having a range of meetings, some on culture, helping British citizens because this is a big tourist destination and then also about improving and building on our relationships with some of our local partners in the local government.”
He continued, “We’ve just had a very good meeting with the Deputy Major where we were discussing collaboration and cooperation in a range of sectors, and these include education around what we can do to build up more links, also healthcare, the environment and waste management.”
Deputy Governor Cok Ace was pleased with how the discussion played out with the Deputy Ambassador. Speaking to the press after the meeting, he explained, “we discussed the prospects for future cooperation, including infrastructure, and later there will be an SEZ (special economic zone) for health in Sanur. [We discussed] what parts can be taken and can be worked on by the UK”.
The discussion also touched on digitization and how the partnership can support the growth of digital infrastructure. Cok Ace continued, “they [the UK] are very experienced in digitalization. We in Bali have also received rewards in this regard. Of course, we hope that the UK will take part in the development of digitalization in Bali.”
While much of Downing’s work on the trip is focused on tourism-related discussions, the topic of conversation is broad and all-encompassing. Earlier today, Tuesday, 7th February, Downing met with the National Police Witness and Victim Protection Agency to take part in a workshop on the handling of cases of sexual violence and mental health.
Downing opened the workshop and shared how the Indonesian authorities have handled cases of violence well but that all parties have a shared duty to ensure that Bali is a safe place for all. He shared that the workshop is designed to help police best deal with anyone who has been affected by violence or victims of crime who have health problems, not only British citizens in Bali.
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Wednesday 8th of February 2023
Experts expect escalation of war because USA, UK and EU are sending more and more weapons such tanks to Ukraine and it seems that F-16 fighter airplanes will follow. It’s self made crisis. Why they aren’t world wide anti war demonstrations yet like it was during Vietnam war, because escalation into nuclear war would hurt whole planet. It’s better negotiating than making war. Deaths, hunger and inflation must be stopped.