In 2021, just 45 international visitors came to Bali.

As a result of the coronavirus epidemic, several tourist destinations throughout the world have seen major drops in visitor numbers. Few, though, have been struck more than Bali, the Indonesian island that has long been a favourite destination for tourists from across the world.

Due to rigorous border control procedures and a shuttered airport, Bali has gone from receiving millions of foreign tourists to only 45 visitors in 2021, a significant decrease.

In contrast, around 6.2 million international arrivals are expected in 2019 and 1.05 million in 2020.

Nyoman Gede Gunadika, division director of tourism for Bali Province, told CNN that “this is the lowest number of foreign tourists visits we’ve ever recorded.”

The Central Statistics Bureau of Bali certified that the two-digit number corresponds to the period between January and October 2021, and that it is accurate.

Due to the fact that the island’s Ngurah Rai Foreign Airport (DPS) in Denpasar has been blocked to international aircraft for practically the entire year, the vast majority of those visitors have arrived by private boat. However, despite the fact that the airport officially reopened to international flights on October 14, there have only been local flights in and out of the airport thus far, with the majority of them coming from Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.

Foreign visitors to Bali must comply with stringent Covid-related entry regulations in order to visit. They must get a business visa, which costs $300 (there are no tourist visas available at this time), submit to several PCR testing, and purchase specialised health insurance coverage. Additionally, due to a lack of direct flights, travel rates are greater than they would be otherwise.

Justyna Wrucha, a UK citizen who is planning a vacation to Bali with her husband, is one of the optimistic visitors. Their first visit to the island, which she claims has been on their bucket list for a long time, will be their first visit to the island.

“We believe that the Indonesian and Bali governments are being excessively strict by mandating a 10-day quarantine on persons who have received all of their vaccinations,” Wrucha told CNN.

It is the national government in Jakarta, not than local authorities on the island, that determines Bali’s Covid laws related to foreign tourists. Originally, quarantines were shorter, but they have lately been lengthened in response to concerns about the new Omicron strain.

After arriving in Jakarta on December 26 and staying there for 10 days, Wrucha and her husband will fly to Bali unless there are any adjustments or last-minute complications. In lieu of formal government channels, she claims that they have depended on social media, particularly Instagram, to keep up with the latest developments.

People from Europe and the United Kingdom flocked to Bali before Covid arrived, she explains.

Ray Suryawijaya, the president of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association of Bali’s Badung District, concurs with Wrucha’s assessment.

“With all of these hurdles in place, it’s impossible for us to anticipate a large influx of international visitors in Bali,” he added.

Domestic tourism has, on the other hand, begun to slowly recover, which provides some cause for optimism. It has been reported by Ray that the occupancy rate of Bali’s hotels is now about 35%.

The number of domestic visitors visiting Bali on weekends is around 13,000, according to him. While the modest flow of visitors is a positive note to end the year on, especially for the many Balinese villagers who rely on tourism to support their families, it will not be enough to save the season in 2021, according to the Indonesian government.


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