Image: Cok Ace welcomes tourists at Ngurah Rai. Credit: Pemprov Bali.
Deputy Governor of Bali, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati (Cok Ace) together with a number of tourism leaders, air force and airport authorities welcomed the arrival of domestic tourists at the domestic arrival terminal of I Gusti Ngurah International Airport Rai on Friday (7/31).
The reception of the 84 domestic tourists onboard Garuda flight GA 402 from Jakarta were garnered in flower bouquets and welcomed by Vice Governor Cok Ace himself.
The vice governor, who was accompanied by Head of the Bali Tourism I Putu Astawa said that this ceremonial event was a form of appreciation for travelers who arrived on the day Bali was officially opened for domestic tourists.
Citing information from the airport authorities, Astawa went on to say that during the last few days there had been an increase in flight activity. “Previously it had dropped, even at one point to five flights a day. But over the past few days the activity has continued to grow. Yesterday there were 67 and today 60 flights scheduled,” said the man who also serves as Chairman of the Bali PHRI yesterday. [I thought tourism opened on July 31. Ed)
With Bali tourism opening for domestic travelers, Cok Ace has not yet set a target number of tourist visits. “We will ignore target numbers at first. What is clear, at the beginning we will first monitor and then evaluate the situation,” he added.
In this phase, the government will try to instill trust for the tourists that Bali remains a comfortable and safe destination. “We expect a lot of advice and input from tourists who visit the ialnd. That is one way we will continue to make improvements,” added the Professor of ISI Denpasar.
Cok Ace also mentioned the importance of applying health protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19, which until now still has no cure nor vaccine. He hopes that health will remain a concern in line with efforts to revive the economic sector. “I observe that health procedures have been met by passengers arriving at Ngurah Rai Airport. We also have a village-based task force that is expected to provide information faster if something happens on the ground,” he explained.
Cok Ace added, the application of fairly strict procedures at the entrance and the seriousness shown by the Balinese people in handling Covid-19 have become part of the efforts to instill confidence and build tourist confidence.
He then compared this to the situation after the Bali bomb terror of the early 2000’s, in which vital objects, including tourist attractions, were heavily guarded by the police and army. “If there had not been terror before, tourists would have been uncomfortable and afraid of the tight security of the security forces. But after the terror, it actually gives a sense of security. Just like now, by applying a pretty strict entry procedure, psychologically it will give a sense of comfort,” he explained. In addition to providing a sense of security and comfort for tourists, the inspection procedures imposed at the entrance of Bali also aim to protect the Balinese people. “So from these procedures, both get a benefit; our citizens are protected and tourists also feel safe on their visit to the island,” he concluded.