Most destinations worldwide have been experiencing slow but steady recoveries after the mass use of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In 2019, Bali welcomed nearly 6.3 million foreign travelers while in 2020, 1.05 million tourists visited the island.
But with only 45 visitors from January to October 2021, no other place has reported a worse recovery than Bali.
“That is the lowest number of foreign tourist visits we’ve ever recorded,” Nyoman Gede Gunadika, section head of tourism for Bali Province, told CNN.
No airlines, no fun
Although Bali reopened for international tourism on October 14, it has not been able to attract any international airline to its lands.
It is not that airlines just decided to ignore Bali, the problem is that Bali’s entry requirements make it almost impossible for airlines to comply with Bali’s desires.
Many have suggested that Bali’s rather strict restrictions on foreign tourists are the reason behind this economic disaster.
However, multiple countries worldwide currently impose up to 14-day mandatory quarantines and that has not stopped visitors from coming.
Bali has only opened to 19 cherry-picked countries, which makes it impossible for airlines flying from international hubs to only transport visitors with the “right” nationalities.
Waived landing fees have proven not enough to compensate the airlines’ expend.
“From UAE, for example, it is difficult for Emirates Airlines or Qatar Airways to bring travelers to Bali, because being international hubs, the majority of their passengers are [from other countries] and not Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” said Bali Tourism Board (BTB) a few weeks ago.
Rather strict restrictions
Travers to Bali must obtain a business visa at a cost of $300, pay for multiple PCR tests and buy health insurance.
In addition, on Nov. 30 Bali extended the quarantine period from three to seven days and on Dec. 3 that period was extended to 10 days.
Visitors must spend their quarantines at a government-approved hotel where they will be watched 24/7.
To make the destination even less attractive, the government decided to cancel all Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties as part of its new strategy against the Omicron variant.