Slow take off after Bali reopening as mandatory quarantine deters international tourists

CHINESE, AUSTRALIAN TOURISTS ABSENT FOR NOWPrior to the pandemic, about 6.2 million foreign tourists arrived in Bali via it’s international airport, according to Bali’s statistics agency.  In 2019, the biggest groups were from Australia and China, which accounted for 19.78 per cent and 18.90 per cent of total foreign arrivals respectively. While China has been included in the list of travellers from the 19 countries who can fly into Ngurah Rai, those in the tourism industry who spoke to CNA said these visitors are likely to stay away for now. A Chinese-speaking tour guide, who only wanted to be known as Esther, said: “They won’t come because usually they take leave for two weeks. And they go on a tour here for five to seven days.  “They need to be quarantined for five days, and once they arrive (back in China) they also must quarantine for 14 days or up to a month (depending on the province), so it’s impossible,” she said. “Unless it is a big boss who can arrange his own time. But those who usually go on a tour, they won’t come.”  Esther has been out of work for about 19 months now and does not see her prospects improving. These days, she spends her time looking after her children in their home in Jimbaran. Lilie, who goes by one name, is a former driver for Chinese tourists. She concurred with Esther. “Chinese tourists won’t return that quickly. Because they must quarantine for at least five days upon arrival. And they have to be quarantined for up to a month if they return, two weeks at a hotel." She used to earn up to 30 million rupiah per month by driving Chinese tourists. These days, she too has become a homemaker. Restaurants that cater to Chinese tourists are hanging on until the situation improves further. Vivi Alivia, a waitress for Chinese restaurant Lao You Ji in Bali’s Tanjung Benoa said the pandemic has hit them hard. The non-halal restaurant was opened shortly before the 2020 Chinese New Year and saw hundreds of guests coming, before COVID-19 hit about a month later.  “We are now open for some Chinese businessmen who have stayed here and want to eat Chinese food. We are just surviving,” she said, adding that there are days when they have no patrons at all.  “Local tourists don’t dine here. If they want seafood, they go to Jimbaran to the seafood restaurants at the beach. Here it is like a graveyard, very quiet.” She also said: “There is nothing we can do. The boss wants to keep it open, so we just try to survive with four staff.” Prior to the pandemic, 17 people worked in the restaurant. Australians, who were the biggest group of international tourists in Bali in 2019, have not been included in the list of those who are allowed to holiday on the island.  Gede Saputra, the chief engineer of Bali Intisari Kuliner, which oversees several restaurants, said that establishments that catered mainly to Australian tourists have remained shut. One example is the Stadium Cafe Sports Bar. “I hope that foreign tourists can all come to Indonesia, especially Australia because that would be really significant for our restaurants here, especially the Stadium Cafe,” said Saputra.

Slow take off after Bali reopening as mandatory quarantine deters international tourists

CHINESE, AUSTRALIAN TOURISTS ABSENT FOR NOW

Prior to the pandemic, about 6.2 million foreign tourists arrived in Bali via it’s international airport, according to Bali’s statistics agency. 

In 2019, the biggest groups were from Australia and China, which accounted for 19.78 per cent and 18.90 per cent of total foreign arrivals respectively.

While China has been included in the list of travellers from the 19 countries who can fly into Ngurah Rai, those in the tourism industry who spoke to CNA said these visitors are likely to stay away for now.

A Chinese-speaking tour guide, who only wanted to be known as Esther, said: “They won’t come because usually they take leave for two weeks. And they go on a tour here for five to seven days. 

“They need to be quarantined for five days, and once they arrive (back in China) they also must quarantine for 14 days or up to a month (depending on the province), so it’s impossible,” she said.

“Unless it is a big boss who can arrange his own time. But those who usually go on a tour, they won’t come.” 

Esther has been out of work for about 19 months now and does not see her prospects improving. These days, she spends her time looking after her children in their home in Jimbaran.

Lilie, who goes by one name, is a former driver for Chinese tourists. She concurred with Esther.

“Chinese tourists won’t return that quickly. Because they must quarantine for at least five days upon arrival. And they have to be quarantined for up to a month if they return, two weeks at a hotel."

She used to earn up to 30 million rupiah per month by driving Chinese tourists. These days, she too has become a homemaker.

Restaurants that cater to Chinese tourists are hanging on until the situation improves further.

Vivi Alivia, a waitress for Chinese restaurant Lao You Ji in Bali’s Tanjung Benoa said the pandemic has hit them hard.

The non-halal restaurant was opened shortly before the 2020 Chinese New Year and saw hundreds of guests coming, before COVID-19 hit about a month later. 

“We are now open for some Chinese businessmen who have stayed here and want to eat Chinese food. We are just surviving,” she said, adding that there are days when they have no patrons at all. 

“Local tourists don’t dine here. If they want seafood, they go to Jimbaran to the seafood restaurants at the beach. Here it is like a graveyard, very quiet.”

She also said: “There is nothing we can do. The boss wants to keep it open, so we just try to survive with four staff.” Prior to the pandemic, 17 people worked in the restaurant.

Australians, who were the biggest group of international tourists in Bali in 2019, have not been included in the list of those who are allowed to holiday on the island. 

Gede Saputra, the chief engineer of Bali Intisari Kuliner, which oversees several restaurants, said that establishments that catered mainly to Australian tourists have remained shut. One example is the Stadium Cafe Sports Bar.

“I hope that foreign tourists can all come to Indonesia, especially Australia because that would be really significant for our restaurants here, especially the Stadium Cafe,” said Saputra.