Tourists gone, Bali’s young entrepreneurs eye sustainable future

Young people on Indonesia’s famous resort island are finding new ways to make ends meet after the collapse of tourism.

Ubud, Bali – When Made Yogantara lost his job after COVID-19 sank Bali’s tourism industry, he had to get creative to take care of his family.

Made, who worked at a popular tourist restaurant, enlisted the help of his uncle – a lecturer in agriculture – and turned a vacant lot owned by his family into a small farm. Nearly two years later, the 26-year-old former bartender is selling organic fruits and vegetables online and at the site.

The 25 square metre (269 sq feet) permaculture garden, I Think Fresh Urban Farms, has enabled Made to stay afloat during the pandemic and even donate more than 20kg (44 pounds) of fresh produce to a recent relief effort for the island’s vulnerable communities.

Before the pandemic hit, Made never thought of venturing outside of hospitality, which in normal times would experience a year-end rush that allowed workers to double or triple their monthly wage. Like many of his peers, he saw few other opportunities for young people on Indonesia’s popular resort island.

“But now young people in Bali will really need to explore. We see and experience it ourselves that we can’t rely too much on tourism,” Made, who was furloughed for seven months before being let go, told Al Jazeera.

Made is far from alone.
In 2020, 236,000 people in Bali worked in the tourism sector, compared with 328,000 the previous year, according to data from Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. That number is unlikely to have improved much in 2021. Despite reopening to international arrivals in October, the island welcomed just 45 tourists in the first 10 months of this year, according to the Central Statistics Bureau of Bali, compared with more than six million visitors in 2019.

This is an excerpt from a news article originally published by Aljazeera.

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