The Indonesian island of Bali has only received 45 international tourists in 2021 – Photo: CNN
Destinations around the world have faced a significant drop in tourist arrivals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But it can be said that few places have been hit harder than Bali – Indonesia’s tourist island loved by global tourists.
According to CNN, due to strict border control measures and airport closures, Bali has gone from welcoming millions of international tourists to only 45 arrivals in 2021.
For comparison, this tourist island welcomed about 6.2 million international visitors in 2019 and 1.05 million in 2020.
“This is the lowest number of foreign visitors we’ve ever recorded,” Nyoman Gede Gunadika, head of Bali’s tourism agency, told CNN.
The Central Bureau of Statistics in Bali confirmed that the island received 45 tourists from January 2021 to October 2021.
As the island’s Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) is closed to international flights for most of this year, these tourists mostly arrive by private yacht.
Although it reopened for international flights on October 14, so far, there have only been domestic flights to and from the airport, mainly from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
To come to Bali, foreign tourists have to go through strict entry procedures to prevent the disease from spreading. They have to pay 300 USD for a work visa because currently Indonesia has not issued a tourist visa to visit Bali.
Besides, visitors have to do many PCR tests, buy special health insurance. The cost of air tickets is also higher than usual because there are no direct flights.
Mr. Ray Suryawijaya – head of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association in Bali’s Badung district – said that too many barriers are preventing tourists from coming to Bali.
However, Mr. Ray said Bali still has hope with the gradual recovery of tourism in the country. The occupancy rate of hotels in Bali is currently around 35%.
“On the weekend, about 13,000 domestic tourists visit Bali,” he said.
While this number of visitors is good news for Bali at the end of the year, that meager number is still not enough to save the entire tourist season of 2021.