INDONESIA’S Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno said Bali and all of its people have played a strategic role in supporting the transformation of global tourism.

According to him, the Indonesian government, both at the national and local levels, indeed plays an important role in supporting the transformation of tourism in post-pandemic Bali.

“However, the Balinese themselves are often the leaders in bringing about the movement for change. The Balinese have shown the important role of the community in bringing about change and helping to create resilient, inclusive and sustainable tourism,” said Sandiaga at the peak of the 2022 World Tourism Day celebrations in Nusa Two, Badung Regency, Tuesday (9/27).

He explained that one concrete example of this movement was that plastic pollution about a decade ago became a very serious issue in Bali. At that time, there were two sisters from Bali, Isabel and Melati Wijsen who were only 12 and 10 years old, respectively.

Not only are they ignoring the problem of plastic pollution and expecting adults to solve it, they are trying to tackle it themselves.

The two teens set up an organization, ran a petition that garnered 100,000 signatures and eventually garnered a fair amount of public support. This is a momentum for local governments to finally ban single-use plastic bags.

“They showed how to use the crisis as a stepping stone to jump higher. The plastic pollution crisis was turned into a movement to ban plastic bags. The crisis must be used as a bridge to reform, organize and redirect to come back stronger,” he remarked.

Therefore, according to Sandiaga, Bali is the perfect place to celebrate World Tourism Day which will take place on 27 September 2022.

He hopes that on World Tourism Day 2022, stakeholders can rethink what kind of tourism is needed and how to realize the world tourism recovery agenda.

“Bali is the perfect host for the World Tourism Day event. Not only because of its beauty that radiates hope. But, because Bali is also at the forefront of transforming tourism in Indonesia,” he said.

The WTD 2022 celebration was attended by 328 offline participants and 422 online participants including representatives of UNWTO member countries, G20 tourism ministers, guest countries, international organizations, national and international tourism stakeholders.

WTD 2022 also presents a multi-stakeholder discussion panel with the theme “Rethinking Tourism as a Key Element on Recovery” and also a discussion with the theme “The Tourism We Want” which will be led by representatives from the tourism sector in Bali. []