Though tourists are once again traveling the world after delays from the coronavirus pandemic, Bali’s tourism industry isn’t seeing much traction. Since the Indonesian province reopened its doors to international tourists in October, only 153 have applied for visitor visas.
Members of the province’s tourism industry are alarmed to see the lackluster response from prospective tourists. Previously, Bali’s economy relied heavily on tourism money.
In 2019, 6.2 million foreign travelers entered the province. In 2020, 1.05 million tourists visited before the pandemic caused nations worldwide to close their borders.
Based on how successful the tourism industry once was, Balinese authorities expected a larger influx of visa applications after reopening. Tourists who have applied for visitor visas hail primarily from France, India, and Sweden.
The disappointing amount of visas has a simple explanation: Bali requires self-quarantine upon arrival. A survey from the International Air Transport Association shows that the vast majority of travelers are avoiding locations with quarantine requirements.
Previously, the quarantine requirement was three days. Now that it’s expanded to 10, tourists are even less likely to find Bali appealing.
The quarantine expansion was motivated by worries about the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Because the Balinese economy relies so heavily on tourism, millions of people who live there are in dire financial straits. Many have no savings left, and others have sold off assets — including property like hotels.
Some experts feel that the province’s tourism industry won’t fully recover until 2024 at the earliest.