Hotel guests on the island are confined to their property and special arrangements have to be made for a limited staff to keep hotels operating.
The day is a ripple for Bali’s tourism industry, which received more than four million visitors in 2015, according to statics from Bali Provincial Tourism Service. That’s a stark increase from 1.4 million just a decade earlier.
Many travel agencies and tour operators discourage bookings this time of year because of the disruption, but luckily for its tourism sector, March is typically already low-demand season.
There’s a segment of tourists, however, that actually views the day as a unique part of the culture not to be missed.
“It’s one of the many elements that actually makes Bali an even more unique tourism spot, which holds special meaning to visitors as well as residents,” Dendy Kurniawan, AirAsia Group CEO for Indonesia told CNBC. The airline said it operates around 370 flights in and out of Bali per week. “It is how culture and religious practice have been preserved through times, whilst blended perfectly with the touch of modern world.”
Kurniawan said the airline was notified by Indonesia’s Ministry to Transportation to suspend all operations at Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar) and is working to ensure the smoothness of its operations the following day.
JetStar, the Australian low-cost carrier, has more than 80 flights per week to Bali from both Singapore and Australia and told CNBC it has been complying and observing the tradition since it began flying to Bali.
At Four Seasons in Bali, hotel guests are notified about what they can and cannot do on Nyepi and they’re told all vehicular and pedestrian traffic outside the resort is restricted. In a letter to guests, travelers are told they will receive flashlights to get around the resort and are also invited to participate in art activities pertaining to the holiday.
Because hotel staff are unable to travel around Nyepi, Four Seasons said it arranges for its staff to stay at the hotel to ensure a level of maintained operations.
“It’s fascinating that an island of 4.5 million people can shut down for 24 hours,” Marian Carroll, director of public relations at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay told CNBC, adding that it should be on every visitor’s bucket list. “It takes a huge amount of coordination and discipline. Only the Balinese could pull it off!”