How Bali tourism could be crushed by Australia’s latest restrictions

After announcing that Australian’s will likely not travel overseas until later in 2021, one of our most visited destinations fears the travel ban could cripple the island of Bali.

Earlier this month, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said international borders would probably remain “largely closed off until late next year”, with much of the world off limits until a vaccine is developed.

“International travel, including by tourists and international students, is assumed to remain largely closed off until late next year and then gradually return over time, and a vaccine to be available around the end of 2021 is one of the assumptions in the budget,” Mr Frydenberg told the National Press Club on October 7.

“We have taken every step possible to give Australia the best possible chance of getting a vaccine.”

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The announcement has generated concern among tourism players in Bali, who are desperate for foreign visitors to return to the popular resort island.

While Indonesia is yet to open borders to foreign tourists or give a timeline of when that may happen, generating excitement around tourism has been a top priority among officials.

In an interview with local media Coconuts,deputy chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) in Bali I Gusti Ngurah Rai Suryawijaya said Australia’s tourism prediction was a big problem for the industry.

“Of course (this latest Australian travel update) is a great concern. This potentially poses a threat to tourism in Bali,” he said.

“We’re really hoping that (borders) will open for foreign tourists. But at this time a number of countries are still closed.”

Bali is unlikely to be able to reopen to foreign tourists in the near future, with the island currently experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and a significant spike in the island’s death rate.

The significant spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased since Bali and other parts of Indonesia tried to resurrect some form of tourism traffic by welcoming locals to holiday in popular spots like Kuta, Ubud and Uluwatu. The decision, however, has done little in the way of boosting local tourism dollars – with reports that hotel occupancy has hovered between 5 and 9 per cent since Bali opened to domestic travellers in late July.

Now, Indonesia, with 373,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, has the highest tally of COVID-19 cases in South-East Asia.

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