Citing the inability of some tourists from other countries to visit the resort destination of Bali, the island has shelved plans to welcome back foreign arrivals until 2021.
With COVID-19 concerns lingering, the Bali government decided to delay the initial plans to welcome foreign visitors starting on September 11.
While Bali's government would want to welcome foreign arrivals, the central Indonesian government has yet to allow foreign visitors to the country. Efforts to help in the economic recovery in Bali will now be centered on domestic tourism, which the island was opened for domestic travel in late July.
"The government is still prohibiting its citizens from traveling abroad at least until the end of 2020. In line with the policy, we also cannot open the gate to international travelers until the end of 2020 as the situation in Indonesia, including Bali, is not yet safe to welcome them," said Bali Governor Wayan Koster in a statement Saturday.
International tourism at Bali was halted amid growing COVID-19 infections in April.
With its island economy reliant on tourism, it has been severely affected. According to Bali's statistics bureau, hotel occupancy rates plunged to around 2.07% in May of this year – a sharp drop compared to 51.56% in May 2019.
As it faces the downturn in the local economy, Koster emphasized the image of the island played a role in the decision saying: “Bali cannot fail because it could adversely impact the image of Indonesia including Bali in the eyes of the world, which could prove counterproductive to the recovery of travel.”