It is an extraordinary idea for the public service, but one where everyone should only win: Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, wants to outsource its civil servants to Bali.

The aim is to stimulate tourism there again.

Almost all of the approximately 150,000 hotel rooms on the island have been vacant since the outbreak of Corona.

Christoph Hein

Business correspondent for South Asia / Pacific based in Singapore.

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    Under the “Work from Bali” program, the government is also working on a better infrastructure and attractive visas for digital nomads in order to attract them to the island.

    Although neighboring Singapore has just canceled its major conferences such as the World Economic Forum in the fall, Jakarta is still planning to hold twelve international conferences in Bali this year.

    Low bed occupancy

    “We hope for a herd effect. The officials are supposed to be followed by employees and academics, so that the effect for Bali is multiplied, ”said the Indonesian tourism minister Sandiaga Uno. Around 10,000 civil servants from the capital Jakarta are now to perform their duties from the beach hotels on the holiday island. Currently, they have to do their work from home half the time. Only for the room, the posting of the officials to the beach service would cost the state the equivalent of around 200 euros per month.

    The bed occupancy on the island, which was very popular with Australian tourists, is only 8 to 10 percent, they say.

    The hotels only report 350 foreign guests for the first quarter, after 1.2 million in the same quarter last year.

    The government had tried several times to reopen the bathing and cultural island.

    But then there were always new corona waves in Indonesia with its around 270 million people.

    At the same time, Australia prohibited its citizens from leaving their own country.

    Almost seven billion dollars in economic aid

    Now the officials should take care of bookings. The Jakarta Investment Ministry is planning a year-end campaign to help them finance a stay. "It is part of the government's efforts to create demand for the hotels and restaurants in Bali so that they can survive," it said. "According to the rules of the Ministry of Health, Bali currently has the highest and fastest vaccination rate of all Indonesian provinces." By July, 60 percent of the islanders should be protected there.

    The island is an important source of foreign currency for Indonesia. But since it depends almost entirely on tourists, its economic output shrank by almost 10 percent last year - while Indonesia's overall fell by a good 2 percent. The government has promised the Balinese the equivalent of nearly seven billion dollars in economic aid.