A grand enclave of five-star hotels in the southern part of Indonesia ’s tourist island of Bali is under the spotlight this week as it welcomes top diplomats who are gathering to seek solutions for a number of global economic issues. But to the locals, their main concern is whether the meeting could rev up tourism on the pandemic-battered island. Nusa Dua, which is home to at least 20 resorts, will host the G20 ’s first Foreign Ministers Meeting on Thursday and Friday, with attendees that include United States ’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russia ’s Sergey Lavrov , and Australia ’s Penny Wong. This week’s meeting is seen as a dress rehearsal for the larger G20 Summit, which will take place in Bali in November. The expected guest list of world leaders includes China ’s Xi Jinping , US’ Joe Biden , and, potentially, Russia’s Vladimir Putin . To Indonesians, Nusa Dua has long been synonymous as the capital of large-scale meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions, or MICE, in Bali, as the complex often hosts meetings attended by top officials from Jakarta and overseas. It is usually not as bustling with tourists as Canggu, a surfing hotspot, and the iconic Kuta Beach, which is a 45-minute drive away. Hotels and resorts in the area are known to be expensive, so backpackers and budget travellers usually choose to stay near Tanjung Benoa, a diverse area north of Nusa Dua known for its water sports. On Thursday, Nusa Dua’s roads were still relatively quiet compared to other beachy areas in south Bali. Security personnel could be seen at the resorts where the bilateral meetings between top diplomats took place, though it isn’t as heavy as one might expect during such events. Tension, however, lingered in the air between security and members of the press, as all bilateral meetings were closed to the media. In a resort where a meeting between Wang Yi and Sergey Lavrov took place, reporters were told to leave and not to wait on the premises. 🇷🇺🇨🇳 In Indonesia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey #Lavrov held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. #RussiaChina pic.twitter.com/bDKuzwwWre — MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) July 7, 2022 But Nusa Dua wasn’t always all about swanky hotels. Ni Wayan Suci Diantari recalled how most of her village’s residents used to farm seaweed at Pandawa Beach, a laid-back seaside area about three kilometres away from the fancy Hilton and Mulia resorts, the venues for the bloc’s foreign ministers’ gathering and bilateral meetings. “Since I was five, my parents always took me to the beach to watch them farm seaweed. We would dry them and sell them to wholesalers. The seaweed could be cooked into jelly or dodol [sweet toffee-like confection],” the 21-year-old, who goes by Dian and runs a food kiosk at the beach, told This Week in Asia. “Since many of the [corals] were damaged, many in the villages around here turn to tourism. But if I were to choose whether to work as a farmer or food seller, I would choose farming as it was more profitable.” During the pandemic, much like in other parts of Bali, Nusa Dua saw its income from tourism tank drastically. Dian said that she had to close her warung, or kiosk, for a long time, relying on her father’s uncertain income as a hotel gardener in the area. “In the pandemic, my father only worked seven days in a month. Before the pandemic, he regularly worked as a gardener and only took a week off in a month. My mother offered massages for tourists at the beach, but the beach was closed so she had to stay home and close our warung,” she said. Fortunately, Dian’s family received social aid from the government, so “my family still could eat”, she said. Trouble in Paradise: George Clooney, Julia Roberts film stirs debate in Indonesia As someone who was born and raised in Nusa Dua, Dian said that she is “proud” that her hometown could host such prominent events. “I hope that these events could attract foreign tourists to Bali, so they will return and spend their holidays here. I want this beach to be as lively as before [the pandemic],” she said. “People in Bali rely on tourism for [their] livelihood, so I hope the G20 [meetings] can revive the tourism here.” I Nyoman Kadar shares the same sentiment. He runs an affordable guest house just 15 minutes from the foreign ministers meeting’s venues, and said that he needs more tourists to stay at his place so he could repay the bank the 800 million rupiah (US$53,335) he owes. “I hope all these world-class politicians can boost the name of Nusa Dua on the international stage, so more tourists will come here and I can pay off my debt,” the 58-year-old said. Nyoman said that he has started receiving both overseas and domestic guests for G20-related events. Asked about her thoughts on the attendance of Russia’s Sergey Lavrov, Dian said that she “supports” it, though she added that maybe the Indonesian delegation can put in an effort to get him to “bring peace to Ukraine ”. “Maybe we can talk to him about ending the war in Ukraine and create peace there. There is a crisis going on here and it could affect the holidaymakers’ plans to come to Bali, maybe they will cancel them because of the war,” Dian said. Ending the war in Ukraine is likely to be at the top of the foreign ministers’ agenda in Nusa Dua. The Indonesian Foreign Ministry in a statement released on Wednesday said that the two-day meetings will discuss joint steps to “enhance global collaboration and build mutual trust among countries to enable world stability, peace and development”. The food crisis, fertiliser shortage, rising global commodity prices and the disruption to global supply chains will also be on the agenda.