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SpaceTravel, UnionPay International, and the Bali Tourism Promotion Board, supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Singapore, yesterday officially kicked off their partnership to offer BUBU, a lifestyle app for tourists in Bali. Singapore-based startup, SpaceTravel, will develop this app as this partnership hopes to embrace digitisation to bolster the Bali tourism industry through its recovery.

This partnership was announced at a webinar yesterday “Digitisation to Unlock Tourism Potential Post-Covid”. The event was attended by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Singapore, Mr. Muhammad Neil El Himam, Director for Application & Governance of Digital Economy – Ministry of Tourism and Economy Creative of the Republic of Indonesia, Dr. Putu Saroyini, Vice-Chair Bali Tourism Promotion Board, Mr. Wenhui Yang, General Manager, UnionPay International (UPI) Southeast Asia, Mr .Ping Teck Huat, CEO of SpaceTravel Pte Ltd, and other distinguished guests.

BUBU is an all in one application that allows tourists to Bali to navigate, book accommodation, transport and look for merchant offers, whilst giving merchants the ability to gain insights about and reward consumers when they spend.

In his opening address, Ambassador Ngurah said that since the pandemic Covid-19, the government has developed and rolled out a comprehensive strategy for the development of the Indonesian Tourism in line with the Cleanliness, Health, and Safety (CHS) protocol.

“The plan to reopen is gradual and emphasizes the importance of developing confident, safety, and quality tourism. Reopening borders has been discussed in the ASEAN context,” he said.

Following him, Mr. Neil El Himam shared with attendees several marketing strategies which tapped on digitisation to increase quality tourist visits to Indonesia in the future. This included Indonesia Care, which taps on VR, Big Data, and blockchain to promote virtual, seamless tourism to future tourists to Bali.

“While we don’t hope to replace the in person experience, tourists can now preview what they will be seeing on the trip before they embark on it,” he remarked.

Similarly, Dr. Putu Saroyini stressed the use of mobile applications to engage the Chinese tourist market, which accounted for close to 20 percent of the country’s 18,000 daily visitors pre-Covid. Dr. Putu highlighted that the BUBU App taps on the human desire to gain rewards for their actions, which will encourage them to spend while travelling.

“This gamification feature will promote a higher user engagement, which I believe will make it the ideal choice for travellers when they come to Bali,” she said.

This was a sentiment echoed by Mr. Ping, who urged offline businesses to be quick in adopting digitisation to reach out to potential tourists while observing safety.

“With the help of local tourism boards and UnionPay, we are able to engage these merchants directly and connect them with potential customers in a contactless and hygienic way,” he said.

Mr. Wenhui Yang, General Manager of UPI Southeast Asia further added, “We are pleased to be part of this partnership, to bring more value to our Cardholders, merchant acquirers, and Bali merchants alike.

“This app makes it easier for tourists to not only find their way around Bali, but to easily find and pay for exciting merchant offers when visiting the famed island of the Gods,” he said.

In Bali, the province’s success in fighting COVID-19 has resulted in the Indonesian government expressing interest in reopening its door on 11 September 2020. This has caused much excitement for industry players, who see this as an opportunity for business recovery and even growth.

UnionPay is accepted at almost all merchants in Bali now, and in many parts of Indonesia. UnionPay serves the world’s largest Card base of over 8 billion and is one of the fastest growing international payment networks, now accepted in 179 countries and regions.

SpaceTravel also plans to conduct other webinars like best practices for businesses to stay connected to consumers during this challenging time, dialogues with local businesses on how they pivoted to ensure the proper roll-out of the COVID-19 safe distancing measures, and training on tools across the Facebook platform.

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