UPDATE: Coconuts today received a clarification from the Bali Tourism Agency, which emphasized that tourism players across the island will focus on getting through the COVID-19 pandemic before thinking of attracting tourists to Bali.
“At the time, the Bali Provincial Government along with tourism stakeholders in Bali are focused on handling the COVID-19 pandemic in the Island of the Gods. Efforts to recover the tourism sector by attracting tourists to Pulau Dewata will only be done once the pandemic comes to an end,” Putu Astawa was quoted as saying in a statement.
Original story follows.
Hotels in Bali are reportedly planning to start opening up doors in May, with tourism authorities also expecting to welcome Chinese tourists to the island by June following some optimistic outlook on the travel industry from Indonesian officials.
“The key is no more local transmissions. When we achieve that, not even until June, even May we can start welcoming Chinese tourists,” Putu Astawa, who heads the Tourism Agency in Bali, told Tribun recently.
Last week, President Joko Widodo said he’s convinced that the COVID-19 pandemic will be resolved by the end of this year, further adding that he expects tourism to take off in 2021.
According to the president, this is high time for Indonesia to prepare for the massive boom after COVID-19, noting how people will be looking to travel after months of staying at home.
“Everyone is yearning to go out, people want to enjoy the beauty of tourism and so this is the optimism that we must continue to build on,” he said last week.
The Indonesian government previously said it aims to attract travelers from countries which are recovering swiftly from the coronavirus outbreak, namely China, South Korea, and Japan, in the next couple of months.
Indonesia began suspending foreign arrivals on April 2, and the government has yet to announce when the country will begin to ease its current travel restrictions.
Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board, Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, says that the re-opening of hotels in Bali will likely depend on online travel agents, referring to booking platforms such as Traveloka, though Bagus says they’re expecting to attract domestic tourists first.
As one of the country’s top tourist destinations where travel makes up a large portion of the local economy, Bali has been hard-hit by a significant decline in tourism due to the coronavirus outbreak, with at least 46,000 formal workers having been furloughed just last week, according to official data. Hotels in Bali have had to suspend their operations entirely, while others slashed their prices and offer packages for long-term stays to attract potential customers.
Bali reported four new coronavirus cases yesterday afternoon, taking the total number of infections to 135 on the island. This includes 3 deaths and 38 recoveries.