: Bali Reopened to Foreign Visitors. It Got Only Two in the First Month #WorldNEWS Wayan Sentiani, 36, is earning barely a tenth of what she used to from selling t-shirts and sarongs near Kuta beach.
Bali Reopened to Foreign Visitors. It Got Only Two in the First Month #WorldNEWS
Wayan Sentiani, 36, is earning barely a tenth of what she used to from selling t-shirts and sarongs near Kuta beach. For about a decade, she would get up to 2 million rupiah (0) a day from mostly Australian, Chinese and European shoppers.
“Yesterday, I opened the shop from 7 a. m. until 7 p. m. and only sold a piece worth 75,000 rupiah. Most of our days here go by like that,” Sentiani said. “I really hope the foreign tourists will come back soon. ”
Two months since reopening its borders to international arrivals, Bali seems a long way from returning to its days of fully-booked hotel rooms, busy restaurants and crowded beaches. In October, only two foreign visitors arrived, compared with half a million in the same month in 2019, and not a single direct international flight has landed on its shores since.
Read More: Asias Tourism Industries Hit Hard by Coronavirus
Hopes for the return of tourists are being eroded by the island’s restrictive quarantine measures and fears of a fresh virus outbreak. This year-end holiday season will serve as a key trial for Bali — if the current curbs can keep the virus under control, the government might ease curbs further to let its tourism sector rebound faster.
“We are like sailing between two reefs: health and economy,” said I Gusti Agung Ngurah Rai Suryawijaya, deputy chairman of the island’s chapter of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association.
© 2021 Bloomberg Finance LP An employee wipes a chair by the swimming pool with disinfectant at Four Points By Sheraton Hotel in the Kuta area of Bali, Indonesia, on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021.
COVIDs economic toll on Bali
Entering Bali is more difficult than other beach destinations in the region. Travelers from overseas must apply for a visa that requires a local sponsor, hold an international health insurance and quarantine for at least 10 days. That’s a stark contrast to places like Thailand’s Phuket and Vietnam’s Phu Quoc that let inoculated visitors from some countries enter without quarantine.
Indonesia has enough reason to be especially wary of another virus spike. It battled one of the world’s worst outbreaks after the Eid al-Fitr holiday in the middle of the year, leading to the death of more than 140,000 people. The country’s vaccination program has also fallen behind its neighbors with less than 40% of people fully inoculated, rendering it more fragile to another resurgence.
Bali’s economy bears the brunt of that vigilance as it shrank 9. 3% in 2020, the worst among all of Indonesia’s provinces. Its gross domestic product fell 3.
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