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First Person: Surviving Bali’s COVID tourism crash


“When my dad and mom handed away, I adopted their want for me to handle our household residence in Sudaji Village.

At that point, the village was already referred to as a tourism vacation spot due to its cultural traditions and surroundings and, in 2014 I began to grasp my dream to develop homestays, the place vacationers stick with native households, in my village.

I used to be totally assured that I might succeed, primarily based on my tourism and lodge background. I noticed the operations of homestays and learnt find out how to rework my home into one.

Putu Sayoga for ILO

A bungalow at Esa di Kubu Homestay in Sudaji Village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

It was successful; my homestay, Esa di Kubu, was chosen by the Bali Tourism Office to symbolize Sudaju Village in a nationwide tourism award, and was awarded second prize. 

Afterwards, the Bali Tourism Office really useful that I participate within the International Labour Organisation’s Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) hospitality teaching programme.

The programme helped us to make sure that our amenities and tools reached accepted ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) regional requirements. We learnt about skilled bedding, toiletries, meals presentation, visitor providers and so forth. Every month, the coach would coach us, and consider our progress. 

The coaching additionally taught us the significance of digitalization and digital advertising and marketing, and I started selling my homestay on-line. As a consequence, gross sales and customer numbers elevated, and I acquired excessive scores on on-line tourism platforms.

Dekha Dewandana makes a bed at Esa di Kubu Homestay in Sudaji Village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

Putu Sayoga for ILO

Dekha Dewandana makes a mattress at Esa di Kubu Homestay in Sudaji Village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

‘We had been all panicked and fearful’

Then, on the finish of 2019, COVID-19 hit. From January 2020, international visitors started cancelling, and by March, when the Indonesian authorities declared a pandemic within the nation, we had solely 5 visitors left, all of whom had discovered themselves trapped in Bali. 

At the start of the pandemic, we acquired well being protocol coaching from the ILO: we had been taught find out how to shield ourselves by observing measures similar to sustaining bodily distance, utilizing masks, and washing our fingers. We maintained the protocols with the trapped visitors, who continued to remain whereas discovering methods to be repatriated.

Due to the worldwide and nationwide lockdown and mobility restrictions we had no visitors and no revenue. We had been all panicked and fearful. I used my financial savings to purchase each day wants, notably meals: I purchased as a lot rice and prompt noodles as attainable, as a result of the shops and markets had been closed down.

I used to be contacted by my former abroad visitors, asking about my situation and providing some assist, which I felt grateful for. Their assist helped my household to outlive till the top of the 2020.

The first seven months of 2021 had been probably the most troublesome. We had been planting greens to outlive, however my fellow villagers and I barely ate throughout that interval, and I started to lose hope.

Dekha Dewandana and his wife greet their guests with traditional turmeric drink at Esa di Kubu Homestay in Sudaji Village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.Putu Sayoga for ILO

Dekha Dewandana and his spouse greet their visitors with conventional turmeric drink at Esa di Kubu Homestay in Sudaji Village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

‘My homestay has change into alive once more’

Eventually, circumstances improved, restrictions had been lifted, and we acquired help from the federal government. I by no means forgot about my homestay dream throughout this era, throughout which I repainted and glued up the home.

Foreign guests started to return, and in January 2022 I acquired a bunch of vacationers from Denmark and Switzerland.

I’m glad that my homestay has change into alive once more.

As effectively as working my enterprise, I’m one of many founders of Sudaji Homestay, a bunch for homestay homeowners who’ve accomplished the ILO hospitality teaching programme.

Not all of the homestay homeowners can communicate English or have an understanding about advertising and marketing and digital advertising and marketing, and the group is there to share data, and assist members to keep up requirements for his or her homestays.

I share my expertise and data in order that we will proceed to keep up our fame as considered one of Indonesia’s main tourism village, in order that my fellow villagers shouldn’t have to search out jobs elsewhere.”

Dekha Dewandana arrange words with flowers at Esa di Kubu Homestay in Sudaji Village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.Putu Sayoga for ILO

Dekha Dewandana prepare phrases with flowers at Esa di Kubu Homestay in Sudaji Village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

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