MAIN PROGRAM | WHEN THE WORLD STOPPED TRAVELING
Welcome to KEMBALI 2020, A rebuild Bali Festival. A digital program designed to inspire, excite, reconnect and revitalize, the Balinese and Indonesian community, from 29 October to 8th November. “Kembali”, the Indonesian word for “return” or “come back”, represents revitalization in the face of global challenges. The festival will unite people in Bali and Indonesia, together with an international audience, at a time when travel is largely impossible. And creating connections is more important than ever. Today you’re joining us at a very special discussion called “When the World Stopped Traveling", which is very apt to the actual motivation behind KEMBALI 2020.
And we have with us a league of legends when it comes to Bali tourism. They have been part of the Bali tourism industry from its beginnings. We have three very special speakers with us today. And together we’re going to talk about lessons from the past.
And also, what we can do for Bali's travel and tourism industry after COVID-19. So, quick introduction to who we have today. We have Janice Mantjika, a New Zealander who met a Balinese dancer in her hometown, when he performed the Kebyar Duduk dance. After marrying they moved to Bali together in 1964.
Five years later, they started “Jan’s Tours”, which continued for a total of 50 years in the business. In that time, Jan was the co-founder of the Bali International Women’s Association. Later worked closely with the charitable organization Puspadi Bali. She’s also the author of the book, Bali, 1964-2009: The Shadows that Dance in and Out of My Memory, which tells the incredible stories Jan experienced in her many years on the island. We also have Warwick Purser, An Australian who founded Pacto in 1969, which grew to become Indonesia's largest tour and travel organization.
He became a consultant to the UN, in developing the masterplan for Bali's tourism. In 1995, he founded 'Out of Asia', one of Indonesia's largest exporters of hand crafted products, supplying for the likes of Habitat, Harrods, Target, Body Shop, and more. In 2005, he published a book Made in Indonesia: A Tribute to Indonesia's Craftspeople, In 2007, he was awarded Indonesian citizenship, by presidential decree, officially making him a WNI, or 'Warga Negara Indonesia'.
He has received many awards for tourism and culture in Indonesia, is currently chairman of Friends of Borobudur, owner of D'Omah Resort and Equatorial Design. Last but not least, we have with us Stanley Joseph Allison. A veteran in the hotel industry, developing hotels in the likes of Uganda, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, before moving to Singapore to develop the Cockpit Hotel in 1966.
In 1970, he was approached by KLM and Garuda Indonesia, to start up their hotel division. Many will know of PT Aerowisata, the Indonesian state-owned travel company dealing in hotel, travels, transportation and more. He built Bali's first hotel project, Hotel Bali Beach, now the grand Indah Bali Beach in Sanur. Then helped to build the Bali Tourism Development Corporation Complex, or BTD Complex in Nusa Dua, where he set up the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and the Nusa Indah Hotel Bali, which is now the Westin. So, welcome everyone and thank you for joining us.
in this very special panel for KEMBALI 2020. As you know, our discussion today is, 'When the World Stopped Traveling, and how the global halt in travel has impacted on the island's future. And how lessons from the past can be used to tackle the current climate. And we're going to focus on the lessons from the past, because you are all legends and the veterans of Bali's tourism industry. You were here before it began.
You were part of the beginning. So, I think let's talk about what it was like back in the day, when you first arrived. And tell people, share with people what it was that brought you here, and what it was like, what Bali was like.
And how different it was to what it is today. So, let’s start with Jan. Jan, you arrived in 1964. What was Bali like back then? And was tourism even really in the discussion when you arrived? [Jan]: Well, I think we need to remember that, in 1964, the country was still a very new republic a new independent republic. It was only 19 years since independence from the Dutch colonialist was decreed.
And actually only 15 years since the guerrilla fighting had ceased. It was still very, very, very, undeveloped. Plus, it was in the midst of the Ganyang Malaysia or the "Crush Malaysia" campaign. So there was huge negative vibes towards the US, UK, any British country, and New Zealand of course, was, it still is part of the British Commonwealth. So in fact, when I arrived the airport was very tiny, it was just a few sheds. So, you could not come direct.
You had to go via Jakarta And there was my husband, my 13-month old son and myself arriving pretty exhausted after a flight from New Zealand to be greeted at bayonet point. We were considered suspects, because I was from a colonist, capitalist, neo-colonist country. My husband had studied there, And there was a degree of suspicion, I think, you might say. It was, I tell you what, a very scary introduction to my new country. Once we did get to Bali, on a very very tiny aircraft In those days only domestic flights from Jakarta came to Bali. And they were very few and far between, and very likely to be commandeered by a general to fly off to Kalimantan during those days.
So you would get to the airport, you really had no idea whether the flight would go or not. When I did arrive of course, Bali was extremely different from today The general population, the wider population was actually still uneducated. In fact, it was only my husband’s generation who had had education because during the Dutch time, only very selected people were permitted a very select of Indonesians were permitted education. So, for example, my mother-in-law's generation, simply were not educated.
They were totally illiterate, and there was a huge literacy campaign going on. But there was also a certain underlying feeling with this "Ganyang Malaysia" Initially, when I arrived everybody was very smiley and happy -outwardly. And I lived in the Puri, which is a palace of the high caste people, with my husband's family. We were pretty sheltered there. My sisters and brothers-in-law were all educated And were actually all teachers.
So I was amongst people who were reasonably well educated. They did not speak English, but they did speak a little Dutch. And it wasn’t until we actually moved onto the university complex where my husband was appointed to teach agriculture and animal husbandry, that we came in touch, really with academics But even then, I never actually heard anyone discussing the possibility of tourism. 1964, you could start to feel some sort of underlying tensions. By 1965, the tensions were growing. It appeared that the communism party was very strong.
And suddenly we were very, um, put in quite a frightening position. People were afraid to talk with us, because the communists might think, that they were pro-capitalist, imperialist and neo-colonists and all the other things. It got to the stage where the tensions became so high, you knew something had to happen, but you didn’t know what.
It was very difficult to go from island to island, even to get back to Jakarta was pretty impossible. Up till that time, basically, the people who had been seen, the white people who had been seen were mostly Dutch. And a white person was called a "londo", from the term, from the word “Belanda” which is the term for Dutch people. We became quite hungry, there was no private business.
People were agrarians. You lived off the land. Fortunately, there was not a lot of development. People had not yet started to sell there properties for tourism development. So, most people could return to the land. However, there were a lot of people who were far too poor to have any land and they were living from hand to mouth.
As for us, with the Ganyang Malaysia And all the other things that were happening in-between, my husband’s salary didn’t arrive from Jakarta the lecturers were in the same boat, and we were actually quite hungry. So I tell people now, I actually know what it was like to be truly hungry. I even had to resort to eating dragonflies. And I could tell you, it takes quite a few thousand dragonflies to appease your hunger.
I was also pregnant with my second child, and vey concerned whether the child would survive without any decent food. There were very few shops. Shopping was via the markets. But of course, the markets all closed down especially when on the 30th of September the catastrophic, supposed, PKI attempted coup, or abortive coup they called it occurred. After that life became more and more difficult. We didn’t go out for months out of the house, because you were afraid of what you might see.
So when you ask me were people looking towards tourism? What were their desires at that time? I think we were all, everybody was far too focused on a) survival, survival food wise, whether you could eat today, Whether you could feed your children tomorrow, and b) whether the slaughter was ever going to end. So it wasn’t ever a subject I heard discussed. In fact, I myself had not even thought of it.
However, the Hotel Bali Beach was under construction and I was involved in preparing some of the English classes. My husband was involved with [inaudible] a very prominent Balinese lady in teaching it. So, somewhere along the line the masterplan, and Warwick would be able to tell you more about that. Or was it Stanley? I think it was Stanley who was involved in that, yeah? There must have been a masterplan from the general government, that tourism was on the books.
To look at the general public, I find it quite difficult to think that anyone one of them, ever did to think in terms of tourism. [Edward]: Great, thank you. [Jan]: That was rather long-winded. [Edward]: No, that was great, a great introduction Very interesting indeed. I mean just talking about that survival, I would say that a lot of people today in Bali are feeling that same sense of, that fight for survival and that hunger, because a lot of people are losing their jobs, and tourism is really not able to help them at the moment.
So I think its a great parallel, and thank you for bringing that up. So that's 1964-1965. [Jan]: And through 1966, as well. [Edward]: We’re at a period just before 1969, where Warwick, you started Pacto and Jan you actually started your travel company as well. Warwick, why did you start Pacto in 1969? And what had changed in those 4-5 years, where tourism was not conducive, that you felt, you know this is the time to start travel into the island? [Warwick]: Ok, so I arrived on my honeymoon for a week. And the week became two weeks, became 3 weeks, became 4 weeks, became 5 weeks.
I had a job waiting for me in London which I eventually resigned from, having made the decision to stay in Bali. I employed the services of, at that stage, Bali’s most senior guide. Who, Janice and Stanley you probably know him, [inaudible] was his name. And he was extraordinary. He took me for 2 weeks, he took me around Bali, and shared all sorts of incredible experiences.
And really just the most amazing introduction to Bali and its culture. And I thought well, I would love to see my friends, who at that stage were busily making plans to come to Bali because you know, my wife and I were here. I wanted to see, I wanted try and ensure that they got the same sort of experience. So, I employed some young university graduates. I made sure, of course, that they had to speak English. And I insisted that they wore their local traditional clothing as uniform.
In fact, I’m pleased to say Pacto still wears the same uniform 50 years later And then a company called Abercrombie & Kent, who had asked who had actually arranged my initial visit to Bali. They asked me what I represent, and that's really how it all happened. That was the era of the real jet-setter coming to Bali. They were coming on their private jets.
You'd have Rockefellers, Rothschilds, junior royalty, all arriving, all wanting to get a very special experience. They, because they were, can I use the word "[inaudible]" They wanted special dance performances. They wanted special dinners in the Puris. They actually went back and put Bali on the tourism map.
And having spent, really, thousand and thousands of dollars when they were visiting Bali. That era is sadly gone. I saw a business opportunity. I found a man who had a company, a license for a company called Pacific Tours which he said “yes you can have that”, we abbreviated to Pacto.
and that little embryonic, three guides as it started, grew into Pacto which had in the end 300 staff, and 7 offices throughout Indonesia. So that was, I mean Bali was, if I can use the word, “pure”. It was so pure, and so fresh, and untouched. There were amazing handful, well more than a handful, of wonderful crafts people, people like Ida Bagus Tilem in Mas who certainly Janice and Stanley would know, doing the most amazing, wonderful ,word carving.
It was really just an extraordinary, fresh, wonderful experience. And I was so happy to be involved with it. So, that’s what happened to me from 1968. I think you maybe want to ask a bit later the masterplans and UNDP involvement but that came in the next stage. [Edward]: Great, thank you Warwick. So, just to recap a little bit on these “jet-setters”, What were they really interested to see when coming to Bali? What was the allure back then? [Warwick]: If I could use, everything that was non-touristy/ Everything that was totally, not new, because the things that they were seeing, like dance performances and experiences in the Puri were things that have actually been going on for ages, but never really exposed to tourism.
So, anything that was non-touristy they absolutely loved. [Edward]: I love the parallel to today’s rich jet-setters. They’re searching for the best table at the beach clubs with the most expensive bottles. Very different era we're in at the moment. [Warwick]: As jan would know, we are so spoiled now. I think, Jan, in Denpasar there was 1 or 2 little shops that sold margarine, not butter of course, bread that had been sliced bread in packets.
I mean, that was all we could get in terms of western delicacies. There were no restaurants, or very very few restaurants. That came a little bit later on. [Edward]: Well, I think this is a good segue into a question for you Stanley. You were approached by KLM and Garuda Indonesia. And you started the state-owned company PT Aerowisata, And you started the development of the Hotel Bali Beach in Sanur.
Which I would say was kind of this turning point, [Stanley]: May I interrupt? [Edward]: Sure, of course [Stanley]: The Bali Beach was built before my time. The hotel was Aerowisata's first hotel was the Hotel Sanur Beach. That was the one I was [inaudible] building on the beach in Sanur. The Bali Beach was built long before I arrived. [Edward]: Ok, great, thank you for clarifying that.
So, part of the Aerowisata group I just find it interesting that a state-owned company started in Sanur. Maybe you could talk about why Sanur was the development area in that start of tourism in Bali. What was it about Sanur that they thought to focus on? [Stanley]: Well, thank you [inaudible]. Well KLM and Garuda were flying a lot. There was one other airline, Pan Am that'd fly international.
No other airline. Garuda and KLM wanted to experiment by the government to try and increase tourism. So that’s why I was brought in to open up a company. I was in Singapore for my London company, recruited to join, to start up PT Aerowisata.
The main reason was to provide good accommodation, high yield accommodation, for the tourists in Bali. It suited the airline, because they had people in planes. At one stage there was, I think, all agreed there was such a shortage of bedrooms for hotels in Bali.
We were always trying to catch up with the increase in tourism. So, I was advised by the president of Garuda and a minister in the government that we had to aim for high yield tourism, which I thought was [inaudible]. But, that was done [inaudible], the main problem that it was a disaster really. One night Pan Am were flying in, and it hit the mountains outside Singaraja [inaudible] took 3 or 4 days to get to. There was a German doctor here who actually [inaudible] the rescue team. This brought to light that the airport in Bali was really a domestic airport, not an international.
So the two airlines, [inaudible] said, If you don’t improve the airport, They came in thinking the fisherman's boat in north Bali was the runway. So that’s what the say happened. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the airport became into [inaudible]. With that came every other airline in the world you can think of. That was the aim, in my opinion, of keeping Bali for the high yield market. That was, in my opinion, the turning point of the tourists we had who before came for culture.
And we all knew them, because we met with our clients very often. [inaudible] the markets [inaudible] the countryside you could visit the countryside easily. Later on the roads became so congested the right people weren't coming to see the culture of Bali. That, of course, is my opinion. [Edward]: Great, thank you Stanley.
And yes you’re right. I'd like to draw the comparison to back then there was a shortage of bedrooms and you’re currently trying to catch up. But now, it's the complete opposite. There’s too many bedrooms, than tourists coming every year. [Stanley]: The bad thing is, in my opinion, the room rates. Let's be honest, [inaudible] for business the room rates, the [inaudible] on room rates undercutting [inaudible].
This undercutting room rates, [inaudible], Warwick will agree with me is maybe good for the client but not good for the hotel industry. This is why I think the hotels produced now are not, not them all of course, but a lot of them are [inaudible]. [Edward]: Right thank Stanley.
Yes, completely agree with you. Warwick, going back to you quickly, because, as Jan mentioned you had worked closely with the UN for a tourism masterplan for Bali. Maybe you could tell us, a little bit about what that vision was, and what was the hopes then for what Balinese tourism would be in the long-term.
[Warwick]: Ok so, I'm sorry the sequence is a little bit incorrect. I was asked to join a committee, set up by the World Bank to do the masterplan tor tourism in Bali. And the UNDP involvement came after my duration at Pacto. So, the World Bank developed a masterplan. They wanted to concentrate hotel development on to Nusa Dua.
Concentrate it, but not exclusively. There was to be no inland accommodation in areas such as Ubud. No building higher than the coconut tree was one of the recommendations. But sadly, lack of government control and corruption meant that this plan was never really really followed.
My involvement with UNDP came after my 10 years with Pacto. And my first appointment was as greater general tourism of Vanuatu. But to my knowledge there’s been no real masterplan that's been developed subsequent to what the World Bank did then in the 1970's.
There's been no definition of the market that Bali should be really attracting. And the result has been haphazard development throughout the island, which has in many cases destroyed the environment, the landscape. Bali has become famous as an environmental disaster and lack of rubbish control. Very seriously, the water levels are now at a dangerous level soon to run out.
The one great thing that could be positive that comes out of this era of COVID that we're going through now. Is that an independent committee can be formed for a new masterplan for Bali. And it should be, it should have local people because there's going to be all sorts of vested interest involved.
Get a group outside of experts to do a new masterplan. To really look at the way the history of Bali tourism up until this point. I can say not much good can come out of a situation we're at the moment. This is the one good thing that actually could come out. And I really just hope that it does.
[Edward]: Great, thank you Warwick. Yeah, I couldn't agree more. If anything, I think a lot of people were saying, start of this year was already, we're just, it was obvious we were going beyond carrying capacity.
And it took a pandemic for people to actually stop in their tracks. Everyone knew it was happening but nobody was doing anything about it, because the money was coming in. So, why change something where everybody's benefitting from even though the island itself is not benefitting.
So, agreed the pandemic has forced everyone to rethink tourism in Bali. [Warwick]: Well, we hope so. I mean, that it has forced people to think that would be my prayer, Eddy, But, has it? That's the question we want to ask, Has it really? Well I hope so. [Edward]: Yeah, it's been 6 months and there's not really been much of a plan set out for the future. So that is a little bit worrying, considering we’ve had a lot of time to think about it.
I'd like to go back to you Jan. To think about the changes in attitudes from the tourists over the years. If in the early 70s you had those jet-setters and the people coming for culture. And then you could say maybe, early 90s, things changed.
And people were just coming for, you know, the beach, the bintangs and the parties. Where did it really change? And being in the business for so long, what was it really that changed that mindset of the traveller coming to Bali? From your experience in the business. [Jan]: I think actually the mindset of tourists are very dependent on the market sector. For example, when we first started in 1969, We actually had rather an odd start but similar to what Warwick was saying, we tried to start up with very little capital. We borrowed money for a telephone and a signboard from some missionaries. As Warwick mentioned, there was very few people speaking English.
My husband, being a lecturer, He managed to also rake up a couple of other lecturers used as tour guides. To get ourselves known, we didn't have the money for promotion. One day, we happened to be celebrating my son’s third birthday. We were still finding things very difficult, food wise because we started with very little.
So we went to Sanur Beach. And we were buying satay on the beach. There we met a couple of Nuns. They were from the St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, I think it was. And my husband helped to translate for them. And the next thing they used him as a tour guide for the next few days.
Up until that time, as we didn’t have our own vehicles, we used to walk down to the middle of town hitch a ride with the one tour operator who had a [inaudible] operator, a government one. We used to hitch a ride because they had drivers but no English speakers. So, he used those cars, showed them around. They went back to Australia, told their tour wholesaler there, that “there was a man and his wife, who spoke English," and "they had a few guides who spoke English but not many others did". So they came to see us.
We, at the time, we had initially brought a secondhand refrigerator from New Zealand. And we had no electricity to use it. So we had swapped it for a piece of land on which we were trying to build an office. And these people said, "Ok, we'll loan you money" "build the office, and each time you send us an invoice we will reduce-" "take so much off the debt". So initially our start was with Australians. And at that time, because Bali was such a new destination, despite Australia's close location to Indonesia.
It was still a very new destination for most Australians, apart from the odd surfers. So, they would come in tour groups, And the tour groups would have a tour leader. At that stage they wanted a comfortable hotel, good safe meals, because remember in those days everybody got Bali Belly. I don't think there was bottled water already, Do you remember Warwick? I can't remember, but I do remember that everybody was afraid of the "Bali belly". [inaudible] [Jan]: Sorry? [inaudible] Yeah, I'm not sure whether there was already bottled water on sale. But, um, the Australians that we handled, would stay in the Hotel Bali Beach, because they'd be a large group.
And they would be fully escorted. They wanted to go out by day but come back and had their safe meals. They were afraid to eat out and you had to do box lunches. That was initially, Actually, that was great when we had the tour leaders because as Warwick told you, There was very little Western food available and they would often bring us a leg of lamb, and sometimes a bottle of cream.
Once Qantas got flying they used to also bring it in for us, which was great. So that was how the Australian’s started and that was for some years. We basically, handling Australians when you had the groups. The Europeans were quite different. They came in, they were not looking for a comfortable accommodation. They were more adventurous with food.
They didn’t seem to worry about Bali Belly, probably they got it. [inaudible] But they were much more into the culture. They wanted the experience, they wanted to see the ceremonies, they wanted to meet the people. So, they were great to take around because as Warwick said, and as you know yourself, there’s so much fascination in this Island, it was good to have them.
Then our Americans, like Warwick said, were the jet-setters at that stage. Seldom had the lower bracket income of Americans. And I think, that’s how I first met Warwick. Because you were at the Tandjung Sari at that stage, yeah? I don’t remember what year that was. So, they stayed at the Tandjung Sari which was the boutique place and still is, a great hotel.
They wanted luxury, they wanted boutique, they wanted fine dining, which was very difficult to find anywhere else. They wanted the best vehicle, that was also quite difficult in those days. Especially we couldn’t even get shock absorbers, could we? Warwick do you remember when we couldn't find shock absorbers? You had to go to Jakarta to get your shock absorbers. The roads were all potholes, what roads there were. And of course they liked to buy good quality souvenirs, from people like Bagus Tilem whom Warwick mentioned I think, that went on so far as the Europeans they have continued very much to be much more adventurous.
I found with our Americans, they still liked to have their luxury. But they're perhaps more keen on adventuring out then they used to be. And it took them years, not too long, I think, therefore the tour groups coming from Australia started to change.
We started to get individuals. Then we started to get families. Initially, they would stay in Sanur, because Sanur was deemed to be a good, safe, place to stay.
And I think places like the Bali Beach Hotel. places like Tandjung Sari, and I think the Sindhu Beach Hotel, were quite well known, so that's where they would stay. Then must have been, I think even in the late 70s and early 80s, the surfers were coming. They started staying over in Kuta. I don’t know whether I’ve got off the track from your question.
I can't actually say what year things changed. I think it was a gradually progression to suddenly now, we're having, well we were, prior to COVID having, almost, a little [inaudible] over in, on what we call the "dark side" Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, etc. There definitely has been a lot of changes to be seen. Also I noticed towards, probably the last 10 years or so.
we started to get Scandinavian and European student groups. They would come in groups, but they were students and would spend hours doing research while they were here. Towards perhaps, the last, probably since the bomb in 2002 and 2005, there was a trend also for people to come and volunteer with the various foundations here. And people, especially from the closer countries, like Australia and New Zealand. They would have come here several times, made friends with Balinese families.
Want to come and help them. It seemed to be a much bigger mix. We still also have the luxury clients.
But we also have the, Um, what are they called? What some people would call the [inaudible]. People, I think, in the last 10 to 15 years, became much more interested in adventure as well/ They like the trekking and the hiking that I didn't really see that they wanted previous to that. I'm sorry does that answer your question? [Edward]: Thank you Jan, yes, that's great I just wanted to see how things developed. And where things were changing from. So that answered the question, thank you. Stanley, I think i'll move to you.
And we will be discussing recovery from COVID because that's really what the objective of what this whole thing is But we're trying to learn a little bit from the past and understand the development of tourism, before we can think about where we should go from here/ So Stanley, considering you were working with a government state-owned enterprise when Kuta and Legian started to develop. What did the government think of that? Because it wasn't really in the plan of contained tourism of Sanur and Nusa Dua. Where did things go wrong and how did things go wrong? And why didn’t the government do anything to control that? Because I think those areas really changed the way in which people came to Bali and why. [Stanley]: You’re correct The government, they then were never really giving guidelines [inaudible] The authorities in Bali were the people that should've said [inaudible] to control the buildings in those areas. So that, the moment, up till recently the hotspots of beach clubs, nightclubs [inaudible] And it just comes back to there was no, this is why we must have a masterplan approved by the government. To keep the island from slipping back to these hotspots of accommodation.
Kuta and Legian, Legian's quite nice [inaudible] And I tell you another thing, the mass development of villas very nice villas for people to live in but actually the villas turned into hotels. They would rent the villa for 3-bedrooms, for the rate of one room in a hotel. It's through the hotel industry [inaudible] It was supposed to be, the villas that came up, that were built, were supposed to be for people to live in, not rent out. So, it'd thrown, for me, it'd thrown the whole thing out of balance.
And they were very strict, when we built the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and the Nusa Indah Hotel, which is now the Westin. We had strict [inaudible] from the World Bank, ADB Bank, that this must go that way. And it worked beautifully. Nua Dua wasn’t built to keep the people in away from the Balinese people.
It was built so that the Balinese culture as Warwick was saying, would not be disturbed by mass hotel development, which has happened now. Nusa Dua, for me, I was involved very much so with the team that was developing Nusa Dua area. We had to follow, we had Balinese people involved on design, layout, everything So, it kept the culture. The gardens were beautiful.
It was an ideal set up. But you go to Kuta and Legian, around some of the areas, it's a big mess. That’s my thought on that. [Edward]: Right, thank you Stanley. I think a lot of people get confused, because if they see Nusa Dua Hotel complex they think, "oh this is sort of", you could perceive it as a sort of "elitism”.
You only come in and stay in a gated community but really that wasn't the initial motivation. [Stanley]: That was never actually, [inaudible] Joop Ave was against that theory. He made it that we had to keep the path open between the hotels So that the people from the village could walk to the beach. That was by law, we had to have that access to the beach for the Balinese people of the area.
We didn't need to disturb any fishing village, no village because it was pristine beach. Which the WorldBank, ADB Bank, and the government thought was the ideal place to do it. So, it was never envisioned that way that it should become an enclave for the rich and famous. Not at all. [Edward]: Well, thank you. Yes, Joop Ave is also a very legendary name when it comes to tourism.
And I think he, [Stanley]: He was the father of tourism for Indonesia [Edward]: And had a very strong positive vision for it which I don’t know if any other minister of tourism, [Stanley]: As Warwick was saying, and we've discussed this together, a masterplan has to be produced. [inaudible] having a local masterplan because I was on one committee, and I gave up after 3 meetings this was to solve the traffic problem in Ubud. [inaudible] Everyone said, "You can’t do this, you can’t do that” "do this, oh no that will effect [inaudible]" I think in Sydney, Melbourne and many cities you have a pedestrian mall [inaudible] turn Ubud into a pedestrian mall you think of going to destroy Ubud. So you need, as Warwick and I've said, a team of people that will asses the potential, development, planning that it must be strictly adhered to.
When we opened Nusa Dua The World Bank and ADB had strict roads coming in to the hotel, from the crossroads in. The land beside had to be kept clear so many meters back Within days and months the whole of that land was occupied by shops. And the World Bank complained, and I was there [inaudible] [Edward]: Yes, well I think we’ve established now what, no that was great thank you Stanley what we've established now is what people originally came for and how that's changed.
and how tourism just mushroomed into these new areas. And, I think the, [Stanley]: We're all for tourism, but controlled well I think the first lesson that Bali really received was, the first Bali bombing, and then the second Bali bombing So I think this is a lesson from the past as well about recovery. We had a booming, sorry I shouldn't really use that word. We had a really good tourism industry pre-Bali bombing, and everyone was so happy. And then the bombs happened, and everything came crashing down.
The whole economy of Bali came crashing down. So, it took a long time for things to recover again. And I'd like to ask all of you, What were the main drivers for the recovery after the of Bali bombs? Maybe Warwick you could start with this? Because we're kind of in that situation but to a different degree now. So what are the main drivers of recovery that people focused on after the Bali bombings? [Warwick]: I think Jan is a better person to ask that question to.
I, at that stage after Bali bombings, was spending a lot of my time in Yogyakarta. So I was really an onlooker from the side. I think Janice would probably be a better person to direct that question to. [Edward]: Sure, ok Janice. [Jan]: Yeah, it's very difficult to say really what the driver was. I can speak personally from my own company, Jan's tours.
After 2002, virtually everything was dead. You really could not say there were any tourists coming. There was still a lot of people that we had to get out. There was a huge, It took us weeks to find out whether all our clients were actually safe or not because some just got themselves to the airport and fled without letting us know.
Others, moved hotels without letting us know. The only people who were actually coming in were volunteers. Personally, we were able to stay afloat. I'm really grateful for the fact that we have always kept an emergency account for such things. We learned a little bit too, after things like, [inaudible], and Swine flue, Bird flu etc. But nothing of course could have prepared us for 2002.
We personally were able to keep afloat by putting our staff on, we didn’t lay anybody off after 2002. But we put people on to 4-day weeks, instead of 5 which meant we could save 1 days not pay We still continued to pay them. We saved 1 days meal and transport allowance, which wasn't much. Then it got bit worse. So we had to start putting them on 3-day weeks.
We got through that we still had a little bit left in our emergency account or emergency funds, whatever you'd like to call it. And during the time of course, during the whole time we kept in constant touch, updating our suppliers from overseas letting them know exactly what was going on. I think a lot of them realized that it was actually, only in a certain area that the bombs were but always afraid that it could happened elsewhere.
The clients that we did have, we quickly managed to get out. By 2005, I think maybe 2004, things were looking up. And you mentioned “booming”, it was almost like a new boom.
Things we thought everything was going to fine. People were back on full-time. Tourists were coming. Hotels were fuller. Restaurants were fuller. People who had been laid off in certain places, were being taken back on.
I think a lot of the hotels actually laid off all their daily workers and then [inaudible], how do you say that in English? I'm not sure. asked their staff to stay at home probably just kept on the odd staff to do their cleaning and maintenance. By 2005, we thought everything was a bit hunky-dory We hadn’t yet been able to replenish our emergency fund, but things were on the up and up and then suddenly 2005 hit. Personally, I think island wise it had a more disastrous affect on Bali than the 2002.
Because people who thought this was a one-off and Bali lovers who still wanted to come back and support Bali had start to come back. But suddenly they realized it wasn’t just a one-off, it could happen again. So, that was really the toughest time. For us, by this time we had to put people on 3-day weeks, saving the 3-days meal and transport money. Then we had to start taking 5% off their salaries and eventually we needed to lay off quite a few. Later we did take a couple back on but we never took the same number back on.
We decided to try and downsize and be a little bit more efficient with staffing. [Edward]: If I can open up [Jan]: Sorry? [Edward]: Sorry Jan, I just want to open up the discussion to everyone. [Warwick]: If I could add something, when you have a minute I'd like to add something.
[Edward]: Of course, yeah. [Warwick]: Ready? I think, I mean I said I wasn't involved because I wasn't directly involved. But I was on the sidelines as well. I mean, I think the big difference now with COVID, is the uncertainty of it all.
Nothing that’s happened in previous years has surpassed the effect that COVID is now making in Bali. And we could all sit back, and make predictions about how Bali tourism should be in the future. But it's really totally out of our hands in a way. I mean, what is the airline policy going to be about bringing people back to Bali? Is it going to be aiming at filling the aircraft with cheaper fares? Or is it going to try and recover losses by making travel more expensive? [Jan]: And even if countries will allow it. [Warwick]: Absolutely. That's not going to happen maybe anyway.
I think Janice and Stanley you’d agree, that nothing, nothing, nothing Bali has experienced has the same effect as we're having now with COVID. And it's this big question of the uncertainty of it all. We could sit talking about masterplans and tourism plans and all that but to a great extent it really is out of our hands.
Eddy do you intend later talking about, what can Bali do to reduce it's dependency on tourism? Is that going to be one of your questions later on? [Edward]: Well I'd actually like to bring that up now. I think part of recovery is we're too dependent on one industry we don't know what's going to happen. So, should we reduce the dependency on it now? Should we stop thinking about tourism? [Warwick]: What are the alternatives? I mean, there’s been such a huge investment in tourism development, You know, I could say sadly at certain level which is not producing the tourism dollars that we would like. It's cheap tourism with people not spending a great deal of money. I think the question was raised whether arts and crafts could be developed to in some degree replace the dependency on tourism. In fact, tourism, arts and craft to some extent, at least is very much dependent on the tourist market to buy it.
But having said all that, I think theres is an opportunity to try and promote the whole creative industry. And to some extent headquarter it here. There are some famous international names, John Hardy Jewelry, the Biasa clothing manufacturing company, that are already employing hundreds up to thousands of people.
And the government should give incentives, to develop more like this. so that Bali becomes Indonesia’s hub for creative development and export. And that at least The Balinese have got this incredible talent of being able to make almost anything with their hands. In fact, so do the Javanese.
But the Balinese are exceptional. And I’m sure there is an untapped market for trying to develop more of the creativity here that can be commercialized, and provide lots of job opportunities. Especially when it comes to doing it in volume for export.
That’s just an off the cuff thought. [Stanley]: May I? I think that's right. I'm not for bringing in experts all the time.
But some people should maybe, big business people should come to do an assessment. Perhaps the Balinese are great with their hands and very good workers and this and that. Maybe you could start up some light industries. So that could be brought into part of the hotel business.
Nowadays we import, quite a lot of items from China and other places. Could this not be brought in [inaudible] Bali? I go to [inaudible] and buy things from there made in China. I think paperbags and that could be made here. These are just silly things, but they could start making.
Why should I pay Rp.9,000 for a paperbag made in China? So, perhaps they could bring in a few people to assess what could be done then the government should start it off by giving them, as we were in the hotel industry for the first 2 years we were given tax concessions. So that's helped us to open up. And perhaps if you brought in some business people relevant to what we were looking for It could start up a [inaudible], Which could then translate into the hotel business.
[Edward]: Great suggestion, thank you Stanley Jan do you have anything to add? [Jan]: I couldn’t actually hear Stanley. So, hopefully I’m not repeating. [Stanley]: Sorry. [Jan]: It's ok.
This probably is not really tourism, but I think that, when I first came, it was an agrarian island. And I think now, people are going back to growing hydroponic vegetables and all sorts of other vegetables. When you look in the supermarkets, what do you see? You see imported fruits. What are people using for their offerings? What were they using for their offerings for the temples prior to COVID? Imported apples, imported pineapples, imported papaya, imported fruits. Which, now the local fruit, Ok the local fruits were still, a lot of them were going to the hotels and to the restaurants, and to the local people who couldn't afford the imported ones I think there needs to be money also spent for the agriculture, and root and vegetable industry.
And Bali should look at being able to export some of those tropical fruits. Which we grow. But then we think it's better to have the imported ones.
I know that’s not really related with tourism. But I think that it's one thing that the government needs to look at. And as Warwick said, The handicraft sector, including also exports. We’ve been exporting a lot of people, a lot of workers to overseas, on the cruise ships etc. It remains to be seen whether they will still have jobs, as well. [Edward]: That’s a very good point.
I think it's good to actually discuss the ideas outside of tourism. So Warwick talked about the creative economy and crafts And Stanley was talking about, production and moving a lot production that we depend on from overseas into Bali, to support the local industry. But also supply the local industry as well. And you’re mentioning to support and develop the local agriculture. So it's really creating this, things that are made in Bali economy.
And understanding that we can take off the dependency on tourism. At least, then even if tourism goes back up I think the hope would be, we're not all standing on one leg anymore. We've spread it out on to 3 to 4 legs so that if there is a future situation, we're not going to be all thrown into the same boiling pot. So, I think that was a great suggestion there. Maybe going back to tourism a little bit. I think we have maybe 5 minutes.
Stanley, maybe once tourism is opened, or before it opens, what are some things that Bali needs to fix before it opens again? [Stanley]: Hope you've got a lot of time. [Edward]: What are the main things you think should be addressed first? [Stanley]: I think the main thing is transportation on the island of Bali. At the end of the normal period, You go out on the roads of Bali It was a nightmare. I'm sure we’ve all known that. You go anywhere I was at home in the UK And my sister said, "All my friends have been to Bali" I said, "Would you go back?" All, "No, we liked it but we're not going back". "Well every tour we did, we set off alright," "But we might not get home till 8 or 9 o'clock" "We were supposed to be back at 5" "The roads were [inaudible], this and that" I think that would be one of the main things.
For me that would be the main problem to be solved. And we wouldn’t be popular saying this, but I think a moratorium should be placed on building hotels for a period. Especially after a return to some form normality.
It will never be the same again, I don't think. I think the hotels and tourism will have to catch up on years of, How long is this going to be? Two years like this in Bali? They've got to catch up. No one's got any money. Hotels are closing. They're trying to sell 48 hotels at the moment in Bali.
And that's the ones known. So, I think the industry must be given some tax breaks or something like that to start the ball rolling. [Edward]: Great, well thank you Stanley. I think the irony right now, about the getting around the island, [Stanley]: Too easy. [Edward]: Yeah, it's too easy Now is the perfect time to get around and look at things.
Yeah so I think it's a great time, [Stanley]: I think that Jan would agree with me there, Can you hear me Jan? No? I think, that is one of the big problems because transportation is so important. And driving, instead of driving nose to tail or tail to tail, you can see the countryside. We all know that. [Edward]: Thanks Stanley. I’ll go to either Warwick or Jan.
If you both have some opinions on this, once tourism is open again, properly, What do you think Bali’s message should be? How should we attract people again? Because right now the focus on hotels has sort of been clinical, it's all talking about, “Hey, we clean up, we’re really hygienic”. And that's the focus. But is that really going to attract people to the island? [Warwick]: Jan, would you like to speak? Or should I? Or what? [Jan]: No, you go first. [Warwick]: Ok so, the safety message is obviously an important one for the hotel’s to be able to promote.
But even before that, we’ve got to get some things going quickly that are all concerned with the protection of the environment. Bali’s got a terrible reputation now. For its rubbish at beaches. For the rivers that are filled with trash, and we've got this impending great problem, with the water levels drastically reduced. I mean those are the issues that now must quickly be looked at, addressed, and acted upon.
So that, um, you know Ok, we're starting a new chapter now in tourism development. And these are the things that we've looked at. Come to a clean, come to a safe Bali Come to a clean Bali Focus on that. Yeah, I mean, Jan I'd be interested in your thoughts [Jan]: Well I was going to say the same thing. Garbage management etc. But also security.
Because there is a lot of crime happening. And it’s especially over in your way isn't it Eddy? There is crime. People are intending not to come because of traffic jams, because of the garbage and because of the fear of crime. So as well as safety f rom the point of hygiene, I think the police have got to do something more, Whether the department of tourism, whether all the stake holders get together and discuss this with the police, there has to be more patrolling, unfortunately, while people can still be paid off, it's a difficult thing But there are certain areas which obviously are, If anybody is a member of crime, what is it? Bali Crime thing, on the Facebook. It seems that there is more and more happening.
Especially now when people have lost their jobs we can expect more. I don’t know what the answer is. I know that the Banjars need to do their part.
The police need to do their part. And I think we need to gently be warning our clients the do’s and the don’ts of you know, not having their bum bags on display, and if they'e riding a scooter have things under the saddle, or whatever But it boils down to the fact that, so much is happening and whether if it's even reported, whether it's ever actually followed up on. I know the police have been making quite a few arrests to do with the ATM scams. And there have been arrests after attacks in certain areas.
I think the Seminyak, Canggu side. But I think there has to be a lot more, people have to have a lot more faith a) in the fact that COVID is under control And b) security. As well as the rubbish and the traffic jams. I also think that it's a time that, the government needs to put a stop on further hotel development.
Because even during COVID, it’s amazing how many buildings are still going up. Where are these people going to come from? Where is the water going to come from? Where is there going to be enough electricity? It’s the people who go without the water in the end. It’s the people who go without the electricity in the end. So, to me, there’s a lot to be done beforehand. I also think it would be, this is not directly in relation to that question perhaps, But I also think this would be a time when maybe HPI, the association for guides, got together with the government, ran some more examinations and trainings Because there are a lot of freelance guides out there who are giving false information who really have no knowledge of what they're showing people.
Another thing that is of concern that needs to be sorted out, is the vendors, especially on the beaches. Really pushy, sometimes getting really nasty making people feel quite nervous. I think as well as what Warwick said, I think the crime and the pushy vendors and so on, need to be looked at.
And also stopping the development of hotels. Even though it will offer jobs. But to what detriment of the island? [Edward]: Yes, absolutely thank you Jan. I think that’s probably all we have time for. Thank you all so much.
I think it was great to be able to go down memory lane a little bit. And actually add to the nostalgia of what Bali used to be. And I think that's really what should be focused on when we open up again, you know before mass tourism, we had this beautiful, high yield tourism, people came for the right reasons.
So, that's really why I wanted to get all of your insight on that. And it sounds magical. And I think a lot of people listening will say, "I wish I was here back then", "I wish I could've experienced Bali back then".
But what you're all sharing, is obviously your disappointment with Bali now and COVID should really be a time where we develop environmental management, traffic management, security, and this new added health and hygiene of course. And you're all saying that we need a new masterplan, go back to that original idea of what Bali, of the vision of Bali and have a vision of Bali, which we haven't had for 40 years as you all mentioned. So actually create a masterplan again.
And bring in experts for that. And your ideas for moving out of tourism with developing the creative economy, the crafts, developing a new production on the island, and also developing the agriculture on the island as well. Some amazing ideas.
Some great lessons from the past. But it sounds like whoever is listening, hopefully there are some government people listening but hopefully they understand how much homework they have. But it also means, I don't think we can depend so much on them. A lot of people, if you have the power to do some of these things mentioned in this talk then hope you can do them. The private industry should really do what they can first And not wait. I don’t think we have the time to wait around too much, do we? I think that's probably all we have time for.
So, thank you all so much for joining us. And sharing your insights, knowledge, and opinions. So, thank you I'm sure you all get together and discuss these things anyway, in your usual private discussions and sharing that with everyone listening today. [Stanley]: Thank you Eddy [Warwick]: Thank you Eddy And thank you for all those good, and interesting deep questions. [Jan]: Yes, thank you Eddy And nice to see you guys too, Warwick and Stanley. [Edward]: So KEMBALI 2020 was made possible with the support of the Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati Patron Program and their donors.
The patron program was created to seek assistance for the survival of both festivals and the foundation. By making a valuable contribution to the Yayasan Patron Program, you will be directly involved in delivering both festivals in due time. Your contribution will guarantee the future of Indonesia’s most meaningful cross-cultural platform of words, ideas, culture and creative arts. Don’t forget to follow Ubud Writers Festival @ubudwritersfest on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Or visit ubudwritersfestival.com to find out more information on the patrons program. I am Eddy Speirs and I’ve been very honored to be a part of this fantastic panel of veterans and legends of Bali’s tourism Thank you Stanley Allison, Warwick Purser, And Janice Mantjika. Hopefully this all brings good ideas and the recovery of Bali for the future.
Thank you all and goodbye. Goodbye.