a plant on a table

Scan virtually any travelers bucket list, and you’ll probably find Bali.

The “Island of Gods” made famous by Eat, Pray, Love has seen decades of increased tourism, with some of the most dramatic and beautiful viewpoints on earth. It’s also become a hot spot for rowdy backpacker parties and bustling tourist towns, in contrast to many other “low key luxury” areas of the stunning island.

In response to changing travel demand, and safety concerns, Indonesia is looking to diversify its appeal away from just being the country that Bali calls home, showcasing other natural and secluded wonders further afield.

The Indonesian Government is banking on hygiene, health and distance as the key concerns for travel demand. For areas such as Bali, the Government is mulling certification standards, perhaps including letter grades to help travelers and travel providers develop stronger notions of trust and compliance with WHO recommendations.

a volcano erupting from a mountainAccording to Coconuts, Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio stated “Bali will kick off he BISA movement, an Indonesian acronym that stands for clean, beautiful, healthy and safe. Bali will be the destination that starts the BISA movement, with a focus on facing the new normal era”.

But rather than lay all eggs into one Balinese basket, the government is hoping to turn the spotlight to more remote, and naturally socially distanced destinations such as Java, and Sumatra. And yes, those are two places where some of the world’s best coffee originates. Coffee tourism is a thing, but these destinations offer so much more.

In statements to the Jakarta Post, tourism officials cited growing desire for wellness tourism, which hiking and yoga retreats in other area of the country could thrive on. Mount Bromo in Java is world renowned for off road trekking and hiking tours, which cater to smaller groups in an environmentally sustainable way.

a plant on a tableMandalika in Lombok is incredibly under developed, compared to its counterparts on Bali, and Lake Toba in Sumatra is another area tourism ministers wish to shine a light on. If you’ve got a few minutes, a Google search of any may have you looking up flights in short order.

In one way or another, tourism will be different as travel returns, but different absolutely doesn’t mean worse. Encouraging travelers to go beyond the ordinary and into more extraordinary is never a bad thing, and for many guests coming from outside Indonesia, even the extraordinary remains relatively affordable. Particularly if you’re using miles, or a great flight deal to get there…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. You missed Yogyakarta, which has easy access to the best temple complexes that nobody has heard of (but has probably seen in photos and incorrectly assumed to be Angkor Wat)

  2. Really wanted to do Lombok, but the earthquakes hit the month before I arrived in Bali the other year.

  3. IMO the plan is a good one on paper. The problem is that one of the biggest draws for Bali is the people. They have a rich culture that’s strongly intertwined with their religion and heritage. There’s a reason other places fare poorly by comparison. Ever notice that people in Bali simply don’t get angry? That there’s no violent crime? For example I like Lombok just fine but it’s just not Bali. Nevertheless I wish them well and hope the initiatives succeed.

  4. Nice article. I had a trip there planned this summer, Island hopping the Indonesian archipelago minus Bali. Oh well, maybe next year!

  5. Would second Yogyakarta; the Aman is excellent. Borobudur is very impressive especially at sunrise; and there are plenty of volcanos to visit for sunsset…

  6. Great post! Taking a trip to Bali in late Oct/Nov – any advice on air routes to take? Was hoping for ANA the Room to TYO but award spots are all booked. Any other recommendations? Thanks!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *