Indonesia is launching the ‘Work From Bali’ program to revive the Island’s battered economy – but will it go far enough?
The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy has announced their upcoming ‘Work From Bali’ scheme, which will allow public servants to live and work in Nusa Dua. The program will send 25 per cent of Indonesian public servants from seven different Indonesian ministries to live and work from hotels in Nusa Dua. This comes in an effort to boost tourism on the island.
As Bali suffers, does ‘Work From Bali’ go far enough?
The COVID pandemic hasn’t been easy for any of us, but it’s been tougher on Bali than most. International travel bans brought tourism in Bali to a jarring halt.
Official figures released by the Indonesian government suggest over 80% of Balinese locals have been impacted as a result of the island’s COVID tourism slump.
The tourism industry is crucial to Bali’s economy, with many locals relying on international guests for income. In 2019, 6.3 million international tourists visited the island. In 2020, that number dropped to about 1 million.
This year, the island welcomed just 25 foreigners from January to March. Last year 1.1 million tourists visited the island in the same period. The pandemic has seen more than 4.3 million Balinese people out of work.
Will the scheme help the people who need it?
Australian expat Amanda runs the ‘Let’s Help Bali’ Facebook group, which has almost 14,000 members. She explains that many Balinese locals leave their villages to get jobs in tourism, which are more often than not in the city.
“This means the impact doesn’t just affect that immediate person but the whole family who rely on that income,” she told Ticker NEWS.
Amanda says she thinks the scheme “will help very few people”, and the Indonesian government needs to reopen Bali’s borders to support locals in a meaningful way.
“Until the borders are open, I don’t see much changing here,” she said.
“Bali needs help from everywhere”
While support for the program isn’t universal, it appears as though everyone can agree that Bali is suffering. Ketut Ardana, Vice Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board, says the Work From Bali program is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t go far enough.
Health risks of COVID
Despite these efforts to reopen Bali to tourists, COVID remains an issue on the island with almost 2 million total cases, and over 500 active cases.
Nusa Dua is one of Indonesia’s three “green zones,” where the vaccination roll-out has been prioritised. Local newspapers have reported more than 8,000 staff in Nusa Dua, have received a second dose of the vaccine.
Ketut Ardana says he’s “not worried” about the potential health risks of opening borders for travel.
“We are ready and safe to receive tourists,” he said.
US says Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson aren’t astronauts
The US has tightened its definition of the word “astronaut”, and it doesn’t include billionaire space explorers
The US’ New Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has updated its rules to be an astronaut you must be part of a flight crew and make contributions to space flight safety.
This means that officially, billionaire space travellers like Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson may not actually be astronauts despite their trips beyond earth.
The changes come as the first amendment to the FAA Wings programme since it began in 2004. The FAA announced the updates on Tuesday, the same day that Bezos went to the edge of space aboard a Blue Origin rocket.
How does a billionaire become an astronaut?
In order to qualify as a ‘commercial astronaut’, you must travel 80km above the Earth’s surface – a feat which Branson and Bezos both successfully accomplished.
However, the FAA also says that to be considered an astronaut, space-travellers must also have “demonstrated activities during flight that were essential to public safety, or contributed to human space flight safety”.
For the FAA to award a space-traveller their ‘commercial wings’ as an astronaut, they also need someone to nominate them for the position. Americans can also become an astronaut through the US military or NASA.
The FAA says that the changes better align the Wings Scheme with its role in protecting public safety during commercial space flights.
Snapchat is growing faster than it has in years
Snapchat’s parent company has continued to see record growth – and profit – of the platform
Just a couple of years ago, there were concerns that Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, wouldn’t survive as a standalone company, but the social media platform is growing faster than it has since 2017.
The camera-based messaging app stated it added 13 million daily users during the second quarter of this year – a 23 percent increase from the same time a year ago.
That means 293 million people use Snapchat every day around the world, up from 173 million this time four years ago.
Snapchat’s revenue has also soared 116 percent to $982 million – making it a faster growing business than Twitter or Facebook
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has said he expects the app’s user base to actually grow faster as pandemic lockdowns end, since Snapchat is designed to be used out and about with friends.
Battle of the Crown: Star Entertainment ditches bid
Australia’s Star Entertainment Group has ditched a bid to merge with Crown Resorts
In the latest showdown in the battle for the Aussie Casinos – Star proposed a merger bid back in May worth $12 billion.
Star Entertainment operates casinos in Sydney, Gold Coast, and Brisbane while Crown operates venues in Melbourne and Perth, while a built casino in Sydney hasn’t been granted permission to open.
The Star merger with Crown would have created an Australian gaming and hospitality giant with a total market value of $12 billion AUD.
Crown shares dive following Star’s announcement
Shares fell as much as 4.2% in early trading today, cleaving its market value to $6.7 billion.
Star, which is best known for its casino in Sydney, said it “remains open to exploring potential value-enhancing opportunities with Crown,” though engagement with Crown on the merger plan had been “limited.” It said it will closely monitor the outcome of the Melbourne investigation, as well as a concurrent probe into Crown’s Perth casino.
In a separate statement, Crown said it remains “willing to engage” with Star in relation to a potential merger. “The board is committed to maximizing value for all Crown shareholders and will carefully consider any proposal that is consistent with this objective,” it said.
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