Life Facing the Pandemic in Tourism Reliant Areas:
The pandemic had a catastrophic impact on the world’s economy and few places have been more affected than those areas reliant heavily on tourism. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people preferred to stay at home rather than coexisting with their more typical outdoor activities or visiting friends and family. This has led to widespread feelings of loneliness and helplessness.
Commonly tourism destinations like Bali consist of a high number of small shops which sell food and beverage to tourists, but the only customers available have been to locals who are also struggling to make ends-meet. Many people who live in the tourism regions work as craftsmen, creating unique crafts or souvenirs which tourists love to buy. The lack of tourists through 2020-21 extremely affects their sales. Some news reports say this pandemic is the hardest economic crisis for the tourism area in Bali since records began. Tourism contributes to about 78% of the economy in Bali.
With the loss of monthly income that has greatly frustrated many who have felt increasingly desperate to feeds their families. Many tourism dependent communities are forced by this situation to find other potential sources of money to survive. Lifestyles have totally changed, meaning new habits have followed. People keep struggling while waiting for government aid in handling the economic crisis. One clear lifestyle change has been every family living more frugally, managing finances efficiently, and reducing unnecessary expenses. Many of them who work on tourist attractions have returned to friends or family who live in other parts of Indonesia for financial support while attempting to find other working alternatives.
People who live in tourism areas have no option other than finding other working alternatives to make money. Some people sell common needs in the pandemic such as masks, hand sanitizer, vitamins, and traditional herbs to stay healthy in the pandemic. Many people also go back to nature, working in the farm field, gardening, and depending on what is provided by nature. Like the people of Bali, many of them became gardeners, doing what their ancestors did in the past to survive.
Although they cannot earn a lot of money from gardening, at least they have something to eat from what they plant. Employees who work in hotels and resorts have lost their jobs due to fewer tourists coming. They work on-call, only work when there are people who want to stay in the hotel. Many of them decide to go back to their homeland since they can’t afford the living expenses in the tourism city where they work.
Pandemic teaches people to be more creative in earning money and full fill their needs. The use of the internet has been increasing since the pandemic occurred. Those who work in the office are now working remotely from home. Freelancing or making money online contributes to increased internet usage since it has become trending as the other source of money. The pandemic increases the number of new freelancers in many freelancing platforms or marketplaces.
The people of Bali don’t just want to return to how things were, they now want to have more control over their income and to have protection should this situation ever happen again. An app that is growing in popularity is the Pigee app. This simple system allows sellers, big or small to keep in contact with the customers and sell to them again even when tourists return home. Once packaged, shipping is taken care of with sold items collected from the seller and shipped abroad.
Startups like this will bring higher income to shop owners, delivery drivers and even tour operators as life returns to the island. But not the same as before. Better.