Bali is an island bathed in mysticism and much of its origins is left to tales and stories passed on from generation to generation. What remains of its pre-historic era stems largely from the religious influence of Hinduism and Buddhism. Many agree that Bali’s recent past began to develop under the reign of Majapahit Empire in the 17th century, where large scale agriculture and irrigation was developed. The empire also brought Javanese influence towards the creation of architecture, arts, and literature, helping to define the Bali we know today.
The Western history of Bali started with the arrival of European settlers around the same time. These first contacts and expeditions, brought forth the birth of Bali as a new island in a still-growing world map. The western influence continued to root and nurture the island through traders’ efforts to pioneer infrastructure on the island in 1917 and then establishing sailing routes in 1924.
ENTERING THE GLOBAL WORLD
Following the declaration of Independence of Indonesia on 17 August 1945 from Japanese occupation, Bali’s development remained slow for over two decades. Fast forward to 1970 when Ngurah Rai International Airport was opened to help Bali blossom as a world-famous tourist attraction. Bali soon became a global melting pot of foreign influence and commercialisation began to show negative effects on the religious and cultural-centric framework of the Balinese people.
The Kuta terrorist bombings that shocked the nation in 2002 and 2005, were one of the major events that cemented Bali into the period of globalisation. The events that specifically aim to intimidate international tourists turned out to be the ones that helped the island further flourish. Bali Government Tourism Office stated the influx of visitors gradually scaled up from 2 million in 2005 to approximately 10 million in 2019.
PANDEMIC ON THE ISLAND
In 2020, Bali successfully earned 4th place as the Most Popular World Destination for hospitality and fantasy-like destinations. However, the pandemic did force many who depended on tourism to undergo necessary changes. Both private and public organisations have been exploring ways to reshape the foundation of the island’s economy.
The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy seeks to optimize digitalisation for global workers to come and live here, and is proposing a special Visa for digital nomads. The unfolding of this scene will drive new kinds of tourism and entertainment to be developed by skilled workers in the aim to create stronger economic hubs in areas like Canggu, Ubud, and Nusa Dua, strengthening the growth of a services-based economy, linked to the rest of Indonesia, Asia, and the world.
The era of digital trading is developing more rapidly. Transactions and hand-in-hand affairs advance into onlines payments through social media and shopping applications, allowing entrepreneurs to strengthen the bond with investors and customers alike.
The economic crisis that came with the pandemic pressured the people of Bali to undergo massive changes in their daily lives. Flexibility, adaptiveness to outside cultures and challenging situations are the key survival points at the moment. One of the most favorable efforts is agricultural innovation and digital technology, which stand as the next profitable pillars of the island.
The island of the Gods is an excellent choice for digital nomads and entrepreneurs who seek interdependency in mobility, economy, and technology. “Work & Live in Bali” will continue to be of vital importance for building a stable services-based economy.
At BIC, we believe that entrepreneurs and investors can help each other to pioneer the next shift of this magical island.
Join the evolution. Invest in the New Paradigm.