A 20-year-old McDonald’s restaurant in Bali has shut down due to the lack of Australian tourists craving fast food.
McDonald’s on Bali’s popular Kuta Beach permanently closed its doors on September 29 after Indonesia closed its borders to travellers in April.
More than a million Australians travel to Indonesia each year and make up more than a quarter of Bali tourists – but this has dropped to zero during the pandemic.
Signs announcing the Bali restaurant’s closure appeared at the fast food restaurant just days before it shut its doors for good.
‘See you! McDonald’s Kuta Beach will be closed permanently on September 29. Thank you for all the good memories you shared for the past 20 years,’ the sign read.
The restaurant site has now had all McDonald’s branding removed and is currently a construction site for an unknown project.
Bali locals have voiced their sadness about the restaurant closure.
‘It is at this McD that I was taught to dip my french fries into ice cream by a foreigner,’ one man wrote.
Another local man revealed he had a ‘McDonald’s love story’ at the restuarant.
‘This is a story that makes us sad to hear it, because McDonald’s Kuta is a witness of our life who was on our honeymoon 17 years ago,’ they wrote.
A local McDonald’s worker who lost her job posted a picture with some elderly tourists to Instagram, paying tribute to her fond memories at the restaurant.
‘Not just customers but already like friends and family. Hopefully we can meet another time,’ she wrote.
More than 73,000 people have been furloughed and another 2,500 workers have lost their jobs in Bali due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kuta Beach has been described as the ‘tourist Mecca’ of Bali since it is lined with hotels, bars, restaurants and tourism services.
The popular beach is located in the regency of Badung, which normally earns between $19 million and $38 million from January to June.
But the regency had only earned $572,000 from January to June this year.
While international borders are still closed, Bali reopened to domestic tourism on July 31, which saw regency revenue increase to $1.1 million in August.
Foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia slumped 89.22 percent year-on-year to 164,970 in August 2020. Meanwhile, Bali arrivals plunged 100 percent to 12.
The Indonesian government predicts $14 billion will be lost from tourism in 2020 and has introduced a $28 billion in fiscal stimulus to fight the downturn.
Bali’s provincial governor Wayan Koster said the island will not reopen to tourists until at least the end of 2020.
‘The situation in Indonesia is not yet conducive to allowing foreign tourists to visit Indonesia, including visiting Bali,’ he said.