Once the busiest beach in Bali, since the borders reopened in February 2022, Kuta Beach has seen fewer visits than local tourism leaders would have hoped. While last year has been noted as a resounding success for tourism in Bali as the island emerged from the pandemic, tourism business owners in the Kuta area have been vocal with their concerns that tourists are favoring other coastal destinations.
According to local leaders, for the time of year, Kuta Beach is receiving around 50% of the visitors it did before the pandemic. The Head of the Customary Village of Kuta, I Wayan Wasista, told reporters that the number of people visiting world-famous Kuta Beach has been steadily increasing since December.
He noted that the Christmas and New Year holidays and the lifting of the final Covid-19 restrictions have played a part in the increasing visitor numbers. He explained, “I admit that now it has started to increase. It can be said that it has reached 50 percent like before the pandemic.”
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For Wasista and other community leaders and business owners in Kuta, it still feels like there is a long way to go to get Kuta Beach back to being as busy as it was before late 2019. Wasista shared that most tourists visiting Kuta Beach are domestic tourists from other provinces in Indonesia.
Nevertheless, he was happy to share that the number of international visitors to the area is also on the rise. Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism often reminds tourism leaders in Bali to respect and be grateful for domestic tourism and regularly reminds the Bali tourism sector not to dismiss this important market.
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Wisata told reporters that construction work on Kuta Beach will soon be completed, and the area will once again look more like a beach than a coastal construction site. He said, “We as managers do not deny that currently, there are still many facilities that have not been completed and have not been tidied up. For this reason, we ask for an explanation from tourists. Hopefully, everything will be finished in February.”
As for the new facilities at Kuta Beach, the skatepark, playground, and outdoor gym are all ready. The din finishing touches are underway on the new tsunami shelters. Construction teams are also installing traditional Balinese statues as part of the mission to ‘beautify’ the Kuta Beach area.
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When asked about the cleanliness of the beach, Wisata shared that it is something that he and his teams take seriously. He added that he hoped traders would join the Customary Village of Kuta teams to maintain the cleanliness of the coastline. During monsoon season, tides of plastic waste wash up on Kuta Beach, often making the world-famous holiday resort look like a landfill. Clean-up teams, many of whom are community volunteers, work to gather the tonnes of waste that lands on the shoreline.
Though the tides of plastic waste are an issue, waste generated from traders along Kuta Beach must also be acknowledged. Wisata said, “I have also communicated with all traders on the beach to get involved in cleaning up trash when there is trash piling up. It’s not beautiful when tourists have started to increase [and] garbage is still scattered everywhere. This is for the good of all of us.”
Earlier this week, Kuta Police announced that they had deployed more Coastal Task Force Officers to conduct security surveillance and patrols around the Kuta Beach area. The announcement came as news broke of a young couple who were attacked and robbed by a group of ship workers. The couple was left injured, and the 31-year-old man had to undergo surgery to realign his broken nose.
The Commander of the Coastal Task Force, I Made Oka, announced, “we are intensifying monitoring of visits. We deeply regret the incident of bullying and beatings by a group of youths who are believed to be crew members.” The patrols will now take place with five officers, rather than two or three, and run from the evening through to the early morning.
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