Bali will only receive 45 international tourists in 2021

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Hong Kong/Jakarta (CNN)- During the coronavirus pandemic, destinations all over the world are facing a drastic decrease in tourists. But few people are more hit than Bali, an Indonesian island that has long been loved by tourists from all over the world.

Due to strict border control measures and closed airports, Bali has received only 45 from the millions of international tourists to 2021.

In comparison, there were approximately 6.2 million international tourists in 2019 and 1.05 million in 2020.

Nyoman Gede Gunadika, head of Bali’s tourism department, told CNN: “This is the smallest number of foreign tourists in our history.”

The two digits represent the numbers from January to October 2021 and are confirmed by the Bali Central Bureau of Statistics.

Since the island’s Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) in Denpasar is closed for international flights almost all year round, almost all of these tourists come by private yachts. Although the airport officially reopened for international flights on October 14, so far only domestic flights have entered and exited the airport, mainly from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.

In order to come to Bali, foreign tourists must meet strict entry requirements related to Covid. They must obtain a business visa (currently no tourist visa) at a cost of $300, take multiple PCR tests and purchase special health insurance. In addition, as there are no direct flights, the cost of air tickets is higher than usual.

One hopeful visitor is Justyna Wrucha, a British citizen, who plans to travel to Bali with her husband. This will be their first visit to the island, and she said the island has been on their wish list for a long time.

“We believe that the Indonesian and Bali governments are extremely strict with the 10-day quarantine of fully vaccinated people,” Wrucha told CNN.

Bali’s Covid policy related to foreign tourists is determined by the central government of Jakarta, not by the local authorities on the island. Initially, the isolation period was relatively short, but it has recently increased due to concerns about new Omicron variants.

Wrucha and her husband will arrive in Jakarta on December 26, where they will be quarantined for 10 days before flying to Bali unless there is any change or last-minute problems. She said they have always relied on social media (mainly Instagram) to stay updated, rather than through official government channels.

“Before Covid, people from Europe and the UK liked Bali,” she added.

Ray Suryawijaya, head of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association in Padang District, Bali, agrees with Wrucha.

“With these obstacles, we can hardly expect foreign tourists to come to Bali,” he said.

However, with the gradual return of domestic tourism, there is also a glimmer of hope. Ray reports that the hotel occupancy rate in Bali is now about 35%.

“On weekends, about 13,000 domestic tourists went to Bali,” he added.

Although this small flow of tourists is an encouraging note to end the year, especially for many Bali locals who rely on tourism to support their families, it is not enough to save the 2021 season.

Bali beach photo by Putu Sayoga/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

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