New North Bali Airport Officially OFF Government Priority List
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The President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, has removed a total of eight major construction projects from the list of National Strategic Projects. One of these eight scrapped projects is the contentious North Bali Airport.
Discussions about creating another international airport in Bali have been ongoing for years. A project was launched to get the North Bali Airport built and operational by 2024. It is thought that slow progress is the reason plans have been scrapped.
Although plans were in place for North Bali Airport to open in 2024, the Indonesian government had not even completed the land acquisition required for construction to start. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
The Deputy for Coordination of Regional Development and Spatial Planning of the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, Wahyu Utomo told reporters that President Jokowi has issued instructions to put a stop to any projects that were not making sufficient progress.
Utomo said that the North Bali Airport has been removed from the National Strategic Project list and is there no longer a priority. Discussions around the airport may continue and offers of private investment may be accepted. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
He said ‘It does not mean that the project will not be carried out [at all], but the pace will be different. Because many problems require greater effort so that 2024 is not resolved.’ The project has been bought to a close under this term of Widodo’s presidency.
The airport was a government project that was going to be constructed through a partnership with China Construction First Group Corp. Ltd. (CCFG). CCFG is a subsidiary of one of the state-owned Enterprises (BUMN) in China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd. (CSCEC). State-owned companies like these in China have a strong track record of financing the construction sector. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Utomo told CNBC Indonesia that the CCFG is ready to fund the project when the land acquisition and all other hurdles are out of the way, though there is no knowing how long that could take. He said that the CCFG is the primary funders of the project moving forward ‘which means that we will not use the state budget and regional budget funds to build this airport’. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
According to DetikTravel, a local travel newspaper, the plans for North Bali International Airport, whenever it is built, include a 3,600-metre runway and be able to welcome huge aircraft like Boeing 777s.
The plans state that the terminal buildings will be able to accommodate 50 million passengers every year. This is way above the current tourism targets set by the Indonesian Tourism Minister who, in this recovery year from Covid-19 has set Bali’s tourism targets as 1.5 million international visitors and 7 million domestic arrivals. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Other projects that have been swiped from the National Strategic Project list include the Tiro Damn in Aceh, the Tanjung Api-Api Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in South Sumatra, the Cikarang-Bekasi Laut Inland Waterways (CBL), the Puruk Cahu-Batanjung Railway via Bangkuang in East Kalimantan.
These projects have been sidelined for the same reasons as North Bali Airport, progress in planning and construction has been too slow.
Bali’s current international airport Ngurah Rai is fit for purpose and is receiving an injection of funds ahead of the G20 Summit being held in Bali in November. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
The Island of the Gods will welcome heads of state and their delegations from the 20 biggest economies in the world. Construction of a VVIP terminal building at Ngurah Rai is underway to receive high-profile visitors. Renovations are also underway at the cargo terminal to increase capacity for the incoming event. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
This week Indonesian immigration has added three new counties to the visa-on-arrival program. Visitors to Bali from Monaco, the Maldives, and Colombia can now holiday in Bali and pay for their visa on arrival at Ngurah Rai International. This brings the total number of countries eligible for a visa on arrival in Indonesia to 75.
Visa on arrival in Bali costs IDR 500,000 and can be paid in cash or card in a range of currencies. The VoA is valid for 30-days and can be extended one time for an additional 30-days. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Tourist That Claimed 5 Hour Line Up At Airport
On Friday 29th June a travel blogger called Sebastian Powell published an article titled ‘Bali Airport Has Become A Nightmare With Up To Five Hours Immigration Lineups’. In the article, Powell shared images of the busy arrival and immigration hall at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.
He made bold statements and shared stories from other travelers who he described as being ‘close to breakdown’ after five hour-long queues.
The article quickly traveled around the internet and caught the attention of Bali Immigration officers and the Deputy Governor of Bali. These accusations of long queues and distraught passengers are not good for the island’s public image.
Authorities launched a quick investigation to see whether Powell’s claims were true. After watching Powell disembark from his Thai Airways flight from Bangkok on Friday afternoon on CCTV, airport authorities could see that his wait time was just 53-minutes; from entering the arrivals hall to being stamped into Indonesia and moving into the luggage hall.
(Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Bali Airport and authorities do not deny that there were longer than usual queues at Bali Airport on Friday afternoon and have spoken to local newspapers about their side of the story from an operational perspective.
The Bali Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Anggiat Napitupulu told local reporters ‘We give Sebastian a warning so that he holds a 30-day visa on arrival (VoA), we ask him before 30 days to leave Bali or Indonesian territory’. He has been asked to leave on the grounds that the five-hour queues did not happen to Powell, since CCTV can prove his processing time was just under an hour and that he didn’t have any first-hand evidence or experience of a 5-hour queue.
Naptiupulu said ‘The person concerned only tells what people say, but he can’t be sure when it happened, where it happened…So, you can say this is a little bit of a makeup story…the person concerned is a German citizen, an international blogger, and previously a tourist. Based on his track record, based on CCTV footage at [Bali Airport], from the time he got out of the immigration clearance [area], was 53 minutes’. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
According to Naptiupulu, many people on Friday were processed within 13-minutes of standing in the immigration queue, although he did confirm that some people during peak hours were waiting up to 2 hours to be processed. Naptiupulu and his team could share reasons why queue time is variable and occasionally longer than they would like.
He explained how 16 of the Immigration Counters are undergoing renovations ahead of the G20 Summit in November. He also explained how Friday afternoon is a peak traffic period for the airport with a dozen big international flights all arriving in the early afternoon. He said ‘From 11 am to 2 pm, there are 10-12 large-bodied flights at the same time, so the queue is no more than two hours. However, this is still a normal situation’. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Bali’s Deputy Governor has also made comments about processing times for arrivals at Bali Airport. Deputy Governor of Bali, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace, has visited Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport since Powell’s article was published.
Ace inspected the immigration queue and asked about wait times for passengers. He requested that Bali Airport teams install additional seating designated for those with disabilities in the arrival halls.
Cok Ace said ‘Indeed, the passenger’s goods [luggage] seem to take a long time to process, between 30 minutes to 1 hour. But I have asked and hope that the process of waiting for passenger goods can be accelerated. This is not anyone’s fault, but the mechanism is like that’.
Powell has published an updated story to share the information given to him by Bali authorities including passenger figures, wait times, and the number of arrivals. He praised the authorities for being approachable and sharing explanations with him. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Rising Fuel Costs Trigger Fast Boat Fare Increases
Tourists using Bali’s fast boat services will need to adjust their budgets as ticket prices increase to reflect rising fuel costs. Petrol costs on mainland Bali are increasing from IDR 7,650 per liter (USD 0.5) to IDR 10,000 (USD 0.67). (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
The main fast boat services that will be impacted are from Bali to Nusa Penida and hopping between Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Cengingan. It is expected that fares will also increase from Bali to the Gili Islands and Lombok in the near future.
The Head of the Klungkung Transportation Service, I Nyoman Sucitra, told local reporters that this plan has been in the pipeline for three weeks and is coming into effect as of Wednesday 7th, September. He said that the rise in petrol costs is the reason for the increasing prices and that boat operators cannot fund the difference. ‘If tariff adjustments are not made in line with the increase in fuel prices, [this] has the potential not to cover operational costs, both for sailing, docking, and others. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
The prices are not regulated by regional governments but by the central transport ministry, which has a knock-on impact on regional boat operations. The boat operators held a meeting and assessed the changing financial situation. Together, they agreed on a fair and practical increase in ticket prices and presented this to the regency government, who approved the change in tariff. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Sucitra said, ‘Regarding the fast boat tariff, it is not regulated in the Regional Regulation but refers to the Ministry’s regulations, and the most decisive is the manager of the fast boat concerned’.
Prices may not be all that noticeable to tourists, a slight increase of a few dollars. Currently, the boat fare from Kusamba Village in Bali to Nusa Penida is IDR 50,000 (USD 3.36). With the new increase, tickets will cost IDR 70,000 (4.70) one way per person. For travelers heading to Nusa Ceningan from Kusamba Village, tickets will not cost IDR 85,000 (5.71) rather than IDR 65,000 (4.37).
These ticket increases have been agreed upon by all the boat operators who provide fast boat services from Kusamba to the Nusa Islands, including; Gangga Express, Sekarjaya Group, The Angkal, Idola Group, Wijaya Buyuk, Caspla, D Camel, Artamas, Glory 2, Rocky, Funtasea, D Star, Boat Tanis, Dream Beach, Marlin, Mushroom Prds, Semabhu Hill Group. Some of these boat operators also provide fast boat services from Sanur and Padang Bai; ticket prices will have increased by around 30% from Sanur too. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
The news comes just a week after tourism officials on Nusa Penida shared figures celebrating the return of mass tourism to the area. Compared to areas like Kuta, Legian and Seminyak, tourism in Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan has been slower to bounce back.
Many tourists incorporate a visit to Nusa Penida as a day trip during their holiday in Bali. There are plenty of different accommodation options on the Nusa Islands, and there is plenty more to explore than can be seen in a day alone.
The Nusa Islands sit 30-minutes away from mainland Bali, and is governed is under the same provincial government as Bali. The tourism tariff to visit the Nusa Islands remains at IDR 25,000 (USD 1.68) for adults and IDR 15,000 (USD 1) for children. The tourism levee was put in place to help fund improvements to infrastructure across the islands. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Rising fuel costs are being felt heavily across Indonesia, especially in the transportation sector. Bali’s tourism transportation sector was just starting to find its feet after the height of the pandemic. Local newspapers have also reported that online taxi service provider GoJek will increase their fees to reflect the increase in petrol costs. Small increases in fares for transportation services for tourists and locals can be expected across the island in the coming months. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Bali Prepares To Welcome First Cruise Ship Arrival In 2 Years
Bali is preparing to welcome the first cruise ship to arrive on the island in over 2-years. The Australian cruise ship, Laperouse, will come into Benoa Harbour on the 19th of September. The return of cruise ships to Bali is a positive sign that the Island of the Gods continues to move in the right direction, rebuilding the tourism economy day by day.
Laperouse will be carrying 70 international tourists arriving in Bali after a short stop at Port Kalabahi in East Nusa Tenggara. Speaking on behalf of Indonesia’s Port Operators, Pelindo, the Regional Head, Ardhy Wahyu Basuki, told reporters that his teams were ready and excited to welcome Laperouse. He said, ‘This is the moment we are really waiting for after almost 2 years we have not received cruise ship visits due to the pandemic’.
The excitement is heightened by plans for the Bali Maritime Tourism Hub. The tourism area that is being established around Benoa Harbour is focused on building capacity for bigger cruise ships and ocean liners. The return of cruise ships to Below Harbour and the Bali Maritime Tourism Hub is an exciting and affirming moment for all involved in the project. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Ardhy shared that at least 135 cruise ships are booked to dock at Benoa Harbour in 2023. A few dozen more are scheduled to arrive before the end of 2022. He said, ‘It is true that at this time we have obtained a number of planned ship visits in 2022 and 2023, we must prepare this properly so that it can have an impact on the tourism economy in Indonesia’.
A local cruise operator, I Nyoman Sudana, told local reporters that it is vitally important that these early cruise ship arrivals go smoothly. With the much-anticipated return of cruise tourism and ambitious expansion plans, stakeholders will be watching closely, seeking reassurance that the project management teams and the site are ready. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Sudana said, ‘This [arrival] must be prepared carefully because this momentum can be a turning point for the revival of international tourism in Indonesia, especially Bali’.
Sudana shared his enthusiasm and said he, like many others, had been waiting for over 2-years for this moment. While he has to wait another week or so, Sudana and his college can finally breathe a sigh of relief. so much longer to reopen and relaunch operations. While much of Bali’s tourism sector has experienced some form of reopening, the cruise industry had to wait Sudana said, ‘This is something we have been looking forward to for approximately 2 years from this pandemic’.
His sentiments were echoed by local souvenir seller Dadiasih who has a stall at Benona Harbor. Dadiasih said, ‘The [positive outcome] we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived, and we and our friends can sell again’. The return of cruise operations has a positive knock-on effect on the communities living and working in the area. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
There are dozens of medium, small and micro enterprises that have been living with minimal income since the pandemic began. Many solo entrepreneurs or business owners had to completely close down operations and, if they were lucky, were able to find work in farming or fishing.
One of Bali’s key tourism leaders I Ketut Jaman, shared his delight and optimism at the return of cruise ships to Bali. He shared his hopes that the return of Laperouse on the 19th of September would trigger a further acceleration of development in the area.
The Bali Maritime Tourism Hub is a multi-million dollar expansion of the Benoa Harbor and surrounding areas. The development will include a yacht marina, yacht club, theme park, and water sports facility. Work is already underway, including dreading the coastline to increase the port’s depth to allow much larger cruise ships to come in to dock. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Bali Edges Closer To Hitting Tourism Targets Before End Of 2022
Bali’s Governor, Wayan Koster, has announced updated figures for the island’s recovery from the pandemic. In a written statement published on Monday 5th September, Koster shared updates about tourism figures, vaccine rollout, and projections for the last quarter of 2022.
Starting with an update about Covid-19, Koster shared that the number of new cases continues to decline. He confirmed that hospitalizations due to Covid are decreasing, the number of recoveries is increasing, and the number of reported deaths is at an all-time low. All of which is a hugely positive sign for local people and the recovery of the tourism sector. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
He attributed this success to the rollout of the vaccine program. Bali set ambitious targets to get the majority of the island’s population vaccinated. The figures suggest that the target for the number of people having their first vaccination has not only been met but surpassed.
97% of those who took the first vaccine have received their second, and over 80% of the booster vaccine target has been met. Governor Koster confirmed that Bali achieved the fasted and highest vaccination rate in all of Indonesia. He wrote ‘The better condition of the Covid-19 pandemic and high vaccination rates in Bali have made Bali a comfortable, safe and conducive tourist destination for domestic and foreign tourists’.
Koster wrote that from the 1st of January 2022 to the 2nd of September 2022, the number of domestic tourists arriving in Bali through I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport reached 5,123,974 people. While the number of foreign tourists visiting Bali has reached 945,006 people. Earlier in the year, Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, announced his target of one million international visitors to Bali in 2022. These latest figures suggest that Bali is right on track. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
In the statement, Governor Koster confirmed that domestic arrivals through Bali Airport currently average 12,000 people per day. For International arrivals, the average sits at 10,000 per day. The number of daily arrivals has now surpassed 50% of the norm before lockdown, which authorities are taking as a landmark moment. This sits above what the local government was targeting at the beginning of the year. Koster wrote, ‘This achievement is much faster and higher than the planned target of 40% by December 2022’.
Later in the statement, Koster wrote, ‘The increase in domestic and foreign tourist arrivals to Bali has directly impacted the recovery of tourism and the recovery of the Balinese economy. Bali is starting to rise again’. He noted how the international perception of Bali as a tourism destination has played an essential role in the island’s recovery. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
In recent weeks Ubud has been named the Best City in Asia and the best destination for solo travelers by two notable travel publications. Bali was also announced as the happiest holiday destination in the world in a recent survey by ClubMed. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
Governor Koster ended his statements by sharing his enthusiasm for the upcoming G20 Summit in Bali on 15-16th November. While the main event is being held in mid-November, there are dozens of preliminary conferences and workshops happening in Nusa Dua before world leaders arrive.
Bali is preparing to welcome heads of state from the world’s 20 largest economies, their families, delegations, and the world’s media. This is a huge opportunity for Bali; Governor Koster and the Indonesian government are working around the clock to ensure the event is world-class. (Main Article: New North Bali Airport)
In his closing remarks, Governor Koster thanked the people of Bali for their collective awareness. He encouraged everyone to continue to work together and support each other for the good of the island. He shared his prayers and blessings for nature, the ancestors, and spirits to ensure that ‘Bali Will Rise Again’.
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