Hey Indo! – Before Covid-19, Bali was a tourist destination visited by millions of people from all over the world.

However, nowadays the barren tourist destination is causing suffering for the locals with massive job losses and vacant places.

At least in 2019, 6.3 million foreign tourists vacationed in Bali. But in the first nine months of 2021, the island was visited by only 43 tourists.

The 43 foreign visitors were not tourists, but were traveling on different visas.

Bali has experienced a major boom since the 1990s, with mass tourism turning the agricultural island into a massive holiday hub, with tourism accounting for 50 percent of Bali’s economy.

However, the pandemic has left 700,000 workers out of work, furloughed, leaving the workforce or reducing working hours.

Some businesses try to offset losses by catering to domestic tourists. Hotels offer cheaper stays for Indonesians looking to work from the beach, but hotel occupancy rates were less than 10 percent in September, according to government statistics.

Bali’s economy fell 9.3 percent in 2020, compared with a 2 percent decline in Indonesia as a whole, and more than 30,000 people fell into poverty.

The presence of the Omicron variant ignites hope that Bali can start to reopen as usual.

Indonesia reopened to tourists from certain countries in mid-October, but required a five-day quarantine after arrival, which was later reduced to three days.

With the new variant, Indonesia mandates a seven-day quarantine for foreign tourists.

Bali Governor Wayan Koster when asked about the Omicron variant said the government was wary of the emergence of new variants, and the COVID-19 condition abroad would certainly have an impact on efforts to revive tourism.

Bali is not alone in its tourism struggle related to COVID.

In Venice, government data showed the city welcomed about 60 percent fewer tourists in June and July this year, compared to the same time period in 2019.

New Zealand tourism is down 95 percent with strict border closures.

About two dozen countries, including Thailand, Fiji, Jamaica and the Philippines, relied on travel for more than 20 percent of their pre-pandemic annual gross domestic product, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Thailand is currently facing its worst economic downturn in decades, partly due to lost tourism revenues.

A poll of travel experts by the World Tourism Organization found that 45 percent do not expect international tourism to return to pre-pandemic levels in their country until 2024 or later.

The US Travel Association estimates that international arrivals to the US will not recover to 2019 levels until 2025.

Quoted from Travel Weekly