DENPASAR, Bali, 17 December 2021: Bali’s tourism is in complete disarray as officials from the Bali Tourism Agency admit only 45 international tourists visited the island this year.
Quoted by the Bali Sun Thursday, the Bali Tourism Agency head of Tourism Development, Gunandika, confirmed: “We only received 45 international tourists that arrived through Benoa Port by yachts this year. And this is the worst in our history.”
Gunandika was counting genuine international tourists, excluding returning foreign residents, long-stay visitors or travellers reuniting with their families in Bali. He noted that 1,050,504 international visitors arrived in Bali in 2020, mainly before the lockdown in March of that year.
“Although we received over 1 million international visitors in 2020, it was still nothing compared to the situation before the Covid-19 pandemic, when we welcomed 6,275,210 visitors in 2019,” Gunandika told the Bali Sun.
Tourism-related earnings represent around 52% of the island’s domestic product, mostly generated from international tourists. Officials warn that the island’s economy cannot survive just on domestic tourism that generates an average occupancy of just 11% for hotels and resorts, down from around 80% when borders were open to international tourists.
Bali Governor I Wayan Koster has called on Bali residents to be patient, as they will wait for the situation to get better before reopening the border with fewer restrictions for international tourists.
But Bali Update reported on Thursday “that tourism leaders are screaming ‘enough is enough’ and ominously threatening to take to the streets in response to Bali’s Governor’s advice to “stay patient” in the face of continuing pandemic hardships. Trying to ease this tense situation, the government is partially walking back a nationwide lockdown over the coming Christmas and New Year holidays.”
The island’s travel industry remains hopeful the authorities will allow Christmas and New Year events to be hosted in open areas such as beaches with strict Covid-19 preventive measures in place such as limiting capacity and requiring all guests to undergo rapid antigen tests and show proof of vaccination.
(Source: Bali Sun and Bali Update)