"We must be careful to reopen the industry because if COVID-19 cases are rising, we will struggle to contain the cases surge," Koster said during the opening ceremony of the meeting of Bali province's Federation of Tourism Workers Union in Badung, Bali, on Monday evening (December 6, 2021).
Indonesia's G20 Presidency and global conferences hosted by the province in 2022 would make it the focus of the World Health Organization (WHO), he highlighted.
"Once we encounter another COVID-19 case surge, we will lose our tourism recovery momentum. I hope we can understand this issue in our pursuit for sustainable Bali tourism in the future," he said.
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The governor asked industry actors to maintain their optimism in the industry's recovery while continuing to adhere to the COVID-19 health protocols despite the decline in infections in the province.
Koster also clarified that he will continue to prioritize the tourism sector in the province, refuting accusations leveled by several parties that he had abandoned the tourism industry.
"In opposition with their view, I instead have committed to enhancing tourism in Bali to achieve better quality and sustainability, and ensuring the industry will benefit Bali residents," the governor remarked.
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Gubernatorial and regional regulations have been enacted to maintain the Balinese local culture and spirit, and improve the province's image in the international community, he said.
"We strive to develop a cultural-based quality tourism industry, and we will encourage the tourism industry to develop a better ecosystem for a sustainable Bali economy," Koster added.
Meanwhile, head of the Federation of Tourism Workers Union (Bali), Putu Gunarta, expressed his gratitude to the authorities, including Governor Koster, for devoting themselves to tourism workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Bali.
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"We express our gratitude for the governor, particularly for the recent provision of five tons of rice for members of our union. We also appeal for better communication and guidance from Governor Koster in the future," Gunarta said.
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