Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport sees huge February decline in tourists due to coronavirus scare: official

I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali. Photo: Bali Airport
I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali. Photo: Bali Airport

Tourists arriving at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in the first two weeks of February have declined significantly amid the global health emergency caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak, recent official data shows.

“During the Feb. 1-14 period, the overall number of tourists, both domestic and international, was recorded at 739,553. The number is a drop from last year’s number over the same period by 16.25 percent,” airport management firm Angkasa Pura I spokesman Arie Ahsanurrohim said yesterday, as quoted by state news agency Antara.

Arie said 408,525 travelers on international flights passed through Ngurah Rai during that period, comprising 205,844 departing and 202,861 arriving in Bali.

Domestic flights accounted for 331,028 passengers, with 158,556 departing and 172,472 arriving.

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While Indonesia has yet to officially confirm a COVID-19 case in the country, Ari said fears over the outbreak played a huge part in declining tourist numbers.

“Definitely, the drop in the number of passengers, especially on international flights, was caused by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, among others,” Arie said.

The temporary ban imposed on flights to and from mainland China, which has taken place since Feb. 5, also played a huge part in the decline, as tourists from the country were the second-largest group of foreign travelers passing through Ngurah Rai International Airport last year, numbering in nearly 1.2 million visitors.

Later last week, the Bali Tourism Board said the temporary ban could potentially inflict a major loss for tourism on the Island of the Gods, which is expected to lose IDR1 trillion (US$73 million) per month, starting from March.

Additionally, there have been up to 40 thousand cancellations of hotel bookings in Bali since the coronavirus scare.

The novel coronavirus, now officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, has killed more than 1,776 people and infected over 71,300 as of this morning. The disease has so far affected at least 27 other countries around the world, including Singapore and Malaysia.

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