INDONESIA’S Ministry of Tourism & Creative Economy held a meeting with the Indian Ambassador to Indonesia, Manoj Kumar Bharti and at the meeting discussed various future program plans, especially opportunities to increase cooperation in the post-pandemic tourism and creative economy sector.

According to the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, said I had just finished discussing the plan to reopen Bali with direct flights from India which we are currently preparing and in the finalization stage.

“The Bali Provincial Government has previously designated three areas to become green zones. Namely Ubud in Gianyar Regency, Sanur in Denpasar City, and ITDC Nusa Dua in Badung Regency. The three areas will become priority locations for vaccinations for tourism and creative economy players as well as the community,” he said.

Sandiaga explained that by strengthening the testing, tracing, and treatment, and the stages we had prepared including the implementation of strict and disciplined health protocols, the Ambassador stated that this would increase the confidence of Indian tourists to start direct flights through the travel corridor arrangement concept.

“The number of tourist visits from India to Bali each year continues to increase. Central Bureau of Statistics Bali data shows, in 2017 there were 264,516 tourists, in 2018 there were 353,894 tourists, and in 2019 there were 374,043 tourists,” he stated.

He added that in the meeting I also discussed investment and trade cooperation in the scope of tourism and the creative economy. Including the adaptation of technology to strengthen and create opportunities in the tourism sector and the country’s creative economy, especially in strengthening tourism villages which are one of the mainstay programs of the Ministry of Tourism.

“The relationship between India and Indonesia must be strengthened for the advancement of the two nations. Our hope is that this enhancement of bilateral relations can raise enthusiasm, spread hope, and open up more opportunities for Bali to rise and Indonesia in economic recovery,” Sandiaga Uno noted.

Meanwhile, the Indian Ambassador to Indonesia, Manoj Kumar Bharti, expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the meeting and plans for future cooperation between Indonesia and India. Especially in increasing the tourism sector and the creative economy between the two countries.

Manoj, who has only been carrying out his duties as Ambassador in Indonesia for 1.5 months, admits that he is amazed by the beauty of nature and culture in Indonesia, especially Bali. Where there are similarities in art and culture and the large population of Hinduism in Bali.

“How do they (Balinese people) practice religious teachings in their daily lives which is not the case in India. Of course this will be an interesting experience for Indian tourists to visit Bali,” Ambassador Manoj affirmed.

He is optimistic that the target of 2 million Balinese people who get vaccinated by July will increase the confidence for Indian tourists to visit Bali later.

“We hope that the cooperation will be successful and bring back the economy of Bali which relies on the tourism sector. We also talk about investment in various areas such as the digital economy where we hope that from here we can get a big role,” Ambassador Manoj concluded. []