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Bali to be closed to tourism until the end of 2020

Image Credit: AFP/Sonny Tumbelaka

The small Indonesian island of Bali has announced the closure of the island to foreign tourism until the end of 2020. This comes after initially Bali authorities said that they will open the island to foreign tourism by next month. This all changed after a spike in cases in Indonesia, which prompted authorities to close the island for tourism.

In a statement, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said, ‘The Indonesian government couldn’t reopen its doors to foreign travelers until the end of 2020 as we remain a red zone.’ He added, ‘The situation is not conducive to allowing foreign tourists to come to Indonesia, including Bali.’

Bali had a short-lived success in containing the virus, after which some migrant workers returning home to Bali carried the virus. Testing increased in response to migrant workers returning home. Experts believe that if it is further increased, more cases will be found.

Indonesia is very dependent on tourism and its province Bali, received 6 million visitors last year, which is around a third of Indonesia’s total visitors. Tourism contribution to Bali’s economy is around 80%. The local government has plans to focus on increasing domestic visitors in an attempt to aid the tourism industry and help the economy to recover.

On April, the government forecasted that around $10 billion of tourism revenue would be lost this year due to the pandemic. It is believed that this could now be higher, since in their forecast back on April, they assumed that there would be some recovery mid-year. Bars, shops, hotels and restaurants have been closed in the touristic areas of Kuta and Seminyak.

As of Monday, Bali reported a total of 4,576 cases and 52 deaths. Nationwide, Indonesia reported a total of 155,000 cases and 6,759 deaths.

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