First Person: Surviving Bali’s Tourism Crash |

“When my parents passed away, I followed their wish that I take care of our family home in Sudaji village. At that time, the village was already known as a tourist destination due to its cultural traditions and scenery, and in 2014 I began to realize my dream of developing homestay accommodation where tourists stay …

First Person: Surviving Bali’s Tourism Crash |

“When my parents passed away, I followed their wish that I take care of our family home in Sudaji village.

At that time, the village was already known as a tourist destination due to its cultural traditions and scenery, and in 2014 I began to realize my dream of developing homestay accommodation where tourists stay with local families in my village.

I was fully confident that I could succeed based on my experience in tourism and hospitality. I’ve watched guest houses run and have learned to turn my house into one.

Putu Sayoga for the ILO

Bungalow at Esa di Kubu homestay in Sudaji village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

It was a success; My homestay, Esa di Kubu, was selected by the Bali Tourism Authority to represent Sudayu Village in the National Tourism Award and was awarded the second prize.

I was then recommended by the Bali Tourism Authority to participate in the International Labor Organization Coaching Program for Supporting Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE).

The program has helped us ensure that our facilities and equipment comply with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) regional standards. We learned about professional bedding, toiletries, food presentations, guest service and so on. Every month the coach trained us and assessed our progress.

The training also taught us the importance of digitalization and digital marketing, and I started promoting my homestay online. As a result, sales and visitor numbers increased, and I received high ratings on online travel platforms.


Dekha Devandana makes her bed at the Esa di Kubu homestay in Sudaji Village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

Putu Sayoga for the ILO

Dekha Devandana makes her bed at the Esa di Kubu homestay in Sudaji Village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

“We were all panicked and worried”

Then at the end of 2019 COVID-19 hit. From January 2020, foreign guests began to cancel and by March, when the Indonesian government declared a pandemic in the country, we only had five guests left, all of them trapped in Bali.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we were trained on the protocol ILO: We have been taught to protect ourselves by observing measures such as maintaining physical distancing, using masks and washing hands. We kept records of the trapped guests, who continued to stay while looking for ways to repatriate.

Due to global and national lockdowns and movement restrictions, we had no guests and no income. We were all panicked and worried. I spent my savings on daily needs, especially on food: I bought as much rice and instant noodles as possible, because the shops and markets were closed.

I was contacted by my former foreign guests asking about my condition and offering some help, for which I was grateful. Their support helped my family survive until the end of 2020.

The first seven months of 2021 were the most difficult. We planted vegetables to survive, but my fellow villagers and I hardly ate during this period, and I began to lose hope.


Dekha Devandana and his wife greet their guests with a traditional turmeric drink at the Esa di Kubu homestay in Sudaji village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

Putu Sayoga for the ILO

Dekha Devandana and his wife greet their guests with a traditional turmeric drink at the Esa di Kubu homestay in Sudaji village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

“My guest house is alive again”

Over time, conditions improved, restrictions were lifted, and we received help from the government. I never forgot my dream of living with a homestay during this period when I repainted and renovated the house.

Foreign guests began to return, and in January 2022 I received a group of tourists from Denmark and Switzerland.

I’m glad my house is alive again.

In addition to running my own business, I am a founding member of Sudaji Homestay, a group of homeowners who have completed the ILO Hospitality Training Program.

Not all homeowners can speak English or have an understanding of marketing and digital marketing, and the group exists to share knowledge and help members maintain homestay standards.

I share my skills and knowledge so that we can continue to maintain our reputation as one of Indonesia’s leading tourist villages so that my fellow villagers don’t have to look for work elsewhere.”


Dekha Devandana arranges words with flowers at Esa di Kubu's homestay in Sudaji Village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.

Putu Sayoga for the ILO

Dekha Devandana arranges words with flowers at Esa di Kubu’s homestay in Sudaji Village, Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia.


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