Nyoman Astama is a Balinese hospitality professional with a background in hotels and tourism. He started his career at a hotel school in Nusa Dua and worked his way up through various hotels, including Kartika Plaza Beach Hotel, where he played a significant role in its development. Astama understood the concept and appeal of ’boutique,’ which allowed him to increase room rates successfully.

In 2019, he joined Pacific Holidays, his brother’s travel agency, navigating challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Astama’s involvement with Pacific Holidays led to him becoming the Honorary Consul for Ukraine in Bali, as Ukraine became a crucial market for the agency.

Amid the pandemic, the Balinese government shifted its focus from tourism to agriculture, but Astama emphasizes the importance of tourism as a vital economic driver for Bali. He mentions plans to create five more ‘Balis’ across Indonesia, learning from Bali’s mistakes in areas like infrastructure and waste management.

Regarding trends in hospitality and F&B, Astama highlights the key trend of “Rethinking Tourism” and the importance of responsible tourism aligned with sustainability goals. He emphasizes the need for permanent education on sustainability for the Balinese people. Growing health consciousness, influenced by the pandemic, is noted, with a preference for cleanliness, fresh air, and contactless services. Astama also mentions the ongoing battle between hotels and online travel agencies (OTAs), with hotels striving to persuade guests to book directly through their websites to avoid OTA commissions. He suggests that smaller hotel chains need to assess their competence in this area compared to global chains with deeper pockets.