Tourism players and researchers are making gloomy predictions for hotels in Bali ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, as Indonesia gears up to ban the annual homecoming exodus tradition known as mudik.
Before the pandemic, thousands of tourists regularly poured into the island.
“If all modes of transportation, from sea, air, to land, are prohibited to go to Bali during Eid al-Fitr festivities, of course it will have an impact on Bali. The hotel occupancy rate might only be in the single digits,” Rai Suryawijaya, who heads the Badung chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), said.
With restrictions on leisure travel for foreigners still in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bali’s tourism industry has been depending on domestic tourists from other regions, such as Jakarta and Surabaya. According to Rai, the first quarter of this year saw improvements in terms of hotel occupancy, which at some point reached 22,000 occupied rooms in one day.
But as Indonesia seeks to reduce any potential risks of COVID-19 transmission with the mudik ban, hotels and other tourist-dependent businesses are now bracing for impact.
“The second quarter of 2021 is a difficult moment for hotel businesses because of the mudik ban,” Ferry Salanto, senior associate director of research at Colliers Indonesia, also said.