Published on : Friday, March 20, 2020
Indonesia has recently decided to suspend its visa-on-arrival policy for a month starting Friday. The decision is being taken as a response to the novel coronavirus outbreak and to combat the virus spread in the archipelago. This measure would be the ultimate move to shut down the country’s tourism industry. It holds the possibility of bringing similar economic difficulty as that of other destinations which were major tourist attractions and has been adversely affected by the deadly coronavirus.
Indonesia’s tourism hotspot, the resort island of Bali has the possibility to suffer the maximum damage as more than three-quarters of Bali’s economy is linked to tourism. The de-facto closure of the Indonesian border would be nothing short of disastrous for Bali.
For the past few weeks, ever since the COVID-19 virus started growing rapidly, Bali has been particularly flexible to the global decline of the tourism industry. In fact, according to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, after the immediate outbreak of the virus in January, Bali saw a 3% rise in foreign visitors as compared to the same time last year. Back during that time, Indonesia was completely free of coronavirus cases. Various tourists from different countries headed to Bali for vacation.
However, it was not long till Indonesia reported its very first COVID-19 death. Soon the numbers began to rise and Indonesia has recorded approximately 227 confirmed coronavirus cases and 17 deaths so far.
Last month, foreign arrivals dropped by 20% after tourists arriving by China in the last 14 days were restricted from entering the country. All tourists are now frantically leaving Bali with the fear of airports being shut and people being stranded in the islands for an indefinite time period.
Ross Taylor, President, Indonesia Institute said in a recent press statement that research holds around 80% of Bali’s GDP is based on tourism. He is of the opinion that almost everyone in Bali depends on tourism and the result of that being taken away would be catastrophic.