Tourism numbers in Nusa Penida have finally started to bounce back after the height of the pandemic. While areas in Bali like Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak, have been comparatively quick to return to healthy levels, outlying regions of Bali Province like Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan have noted a slower than hoped return to pre-pandemic tourism levels.
Although Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan are islands in their own right, they are governed as a part of Bali Province and fall within Klungkung Regency. Historically Nusa Penisa was used as a penal colony (prison island) for the Klungkung Regency and has been long associated with black magic.
However, in recent times, Nusa Penida has become one of Bali’s most iconic landscapes attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists annually. Some of Bali’s most photographed landscapes can be found on Nusa Penida, like Broken Beach, Angel’s Billabong, and Crystal Bay.
Nusa Penida is receiving a high influx of travelers partly due to Bali’s high season and partly due to the seasonal return of sunfish to the waters surrounding the island. Many tourists visit Nusa Penida to swim with the resident manta rays. From late July through to late September, travelers have the opportunity to experience the sunfish migration and the manta rays often on one day.
The Head of the Klungkung Tourism Office, Anak Agung Putra Wedana, has released tourism figure for the last month. He and his teams have calculated that 1,000-1,500 people have been visiting daily. While there is a wonderful range of accommodation options on Nusa Penida, the vast majority of tourists visit the island as a part of a one-day boat trip leaving Sanur or Kusamba Port in the early hours and returning in the late afternoon.
Wedana’s figures were based on a tourism levy that is a required fee for all tourists who visit Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan. The levy costs IDR 25,000 (USD 1.67) for adults and IDR 15,000 (USD 1) for children. The fees are used to fund the maintenance and development of public areas used by tourists, like the roads, ports, and beaches. Local residents do not have to pay levies.
Speaking to the press, Wedana encouraged the local tourism sector to keep up the excellent work and to ensure that tourists from around the world have a pleasant experience on the island, he said ‘Let’s monitor it together. For locations whose assets belong to the government, of course, special officers will be placed there later’. He explained how he hoped that all tourism parties would continue to work in the interest of their guests and priorities safety for all people so that accidents do not occur.
Wedana was referring specifically to two incidences that have happened in the waters off Nusa Penida in recent weeks. On Thursday, 25th August, Bali Search and Rescue Teams had to evacuate a French tourist from Nusa Pendia after he had been pulled out by the heightening waves and changing tides.
Rabat Jean Pascal Brayn, 30, broke his arm while bashed against the rocky cliffs. He exhausted himself hauling himself back to the land where medical teams were able to start treating his injuries. He was taken by fast boat back to mainland Bali for treatment at a specialist hospital.
Just days before, two Korean tourists on a snorkeling trip around Nusa Penida were also victims of the ocean’s changing conditions. Kim Yongjae, 33, and his girlfriend Lee Jina, 32, were hit by a massive wave while snorkeling in Manta Bay. While Jina could stay afloat and eventually clamber onto the rocks at Broken Beach, tragically, Yongjae’s body was recovered from the water the following morning after a lengthy search. It is believed that he drowned shortly after the impact of the initial big wave.
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