Bali REOPENS… but not for Aussies: Island paradise is up and running again for locals – but Australians won’t be allowed in for a long time yet
- The famous holiday island opened its doors for Indonesian locals on July 31
- The borders won’t be open to Australians as it battles through a second wave
- Tourists from Australia represented the largest group to visit the resort island
- Within the past week, Indonesia recorded 2,000 new infections per day twice
Bali has reopened its borders to tourists, but Australians won’t be allowed in.
The famous holiday island opened its doors for Indonesian locals on July 31 to save the tourist-driven economy from complete collapse amid COVID-19 lockdowns.
While the local government plans to allow foreigners in from September 11, Bali’s borders won’t be open to Australians – as the nation battles through a second wave.
Tourists from Australia represented the largest group to visit the resort island in previous years, with 1.3 million people flying to its famous beaches in 2019.
Australian residents now need permission from the federal government to leave the country on the limited number of international flights, as the number of infections soars beyond 17,000 – the highest number since the initial outbreak in March.
Bali opened its doors for Indonesian locals on July 31. Pictured: A woman in a medical mask walks along a beach in Lombok
Tourists from Australia represented the largest group to visit the resort island in previous years. Pictured: A tourist wearing face mask lies on a beach in Bali on July 27, 2020
The global pandemic costs the holiday island about $950million for every month the borders are closed, according to head of the Bali government’s tourism department, Putu Astawa.
‘With the re-opening we have not set a target yet. We aim to get the trust of international visitors. We need to ensure those who will come are healthy tourists and that they stay healthy while holidaying in Bali,’ he said.
Balinese business owners desperate to rekindle sales say they will adjust to a new market without international visitors.
Rizky Nuari, the regional manager for the Johnny Rockets restaurant in Seminyak, told WA Today people use to queue out the door for a seat, but now it’s lucky to get ten customers.
Balinese business owners desperate to rekindle sales say they will adjust to a new market without international visitors. Pictured: People in face masks on Kuta Beach in March
Airport officers line up as they welcome passengers at Bali airport on Friday July 31, 2020
‘Our market is mostly international tourists, about 80 per cent, and out of that 80 per cent about 60 to 75 per cent were Australians. We will have to adjust to a new market if Australians and international tourists are not coming back soon.’
The establishment was forced to cut its staff from 60 people to 15 and paused the construction of three new restaurants.
Made Merta, the general manager of the five star Inaya Putri Bali hotel in Nusa Dua, said occupancy has plunged by 84 per cent.
‘Now in July we are down to just two per cent occupancy rate,’ he said, ‘we have operated with just a skeleton staff, we used to employ 475 workers, now we have only around 200 staff.’
Business in Bali lose about $950million per month while the borders are closed. Pictured: A nearly empty beach in Kuta, Bali
Empty chairs line Kuta Beach as tourism on the resort island has dropped due to the coronavirus outbreak in Bali
The hotel is now offering the 270 million potential visitors from Indonesia discounts of up to 50 per cent.
Despite initial low case numbers in Bali, positive test results have risen in recent weeks and 47 new cases were reported on Friday – bringing the island’s total to 3,360 infections with 48 deaths.
Indonesia has recorded a total of 108,376 cases with 5,131 deaths, and has suffered about 1,600 new cases each day over the last month.
Passengers arrives as Bali’s tourism reopen for domestic visitors at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia on July 31
Within the past week, the Asian nation recorded 2,000 new infections per day twice.
Locals visiting the resort will need to take coronavirus test before travel, and wear a face mask and wash their hands on arrival.
Holiday makers will also have to abide by social distancing protocols during their stay and provide their details to the Love Bali website or app in the event of an outbreak.
The Indonesian government is also considering opening a travel bubble with neighbouring countries, such as the Philippines, to reestablish tourism.