Bali off limits for 2020: Indonesian island drops plans to reopen to tourists this year

The paradisiacal destination will remain closed to holidaymakers until 2021

A tourist walks through rice fields in Bali. The island paradise now plans to remain closed to travellers until 2021 due to the pandemic. Unsplash
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Travellers dreaming of visiting the holiday hot spot of Bali will need to wait a little longer, as the Indonesian island has banned tourists from visiting for the rest of the year.

Originally, Bali had said it would welcome tourists again from September, but authorities have now postponed this until 2021.

Bali Governor Wayan Koster confirmed the changes in an official letter.

“The Indonesian government couldn’t reopen its doors to foreign travellers until the end of 2020 as we remain a red zone,” Koster wrote.

“The situation is not conducive to allowing foreign tourists to come to Indonesia, including Bali.”

No new date for the reopening was mentioned.

Bali typically welcomes more than six million overseas travellers each year, but will have to rely on domestic tourism until 2021. Unsplash

A few months ago, Bali looked as if it could be a coronavirus success model as the island recorded very low rates of infection despite case numbers of Covid-19 rocketing across the rest of Indonesia.

By June, the island's infection rate had started to increase and Bali has now recorded 4,576 cases and 53 deaths. Indonesia as a whole has 155,412 cases to date, making it 23rd in the world for confirmed infections.

Indonesians hoping to travel overseas will also have to remain patient as the government has prohibited citizens from doing so until the end of 2020.

Domestic tourists can travel to Bali after movement restrictions across the country were eased. In July, temples and tourist attractions reopened on the island for domestic visitors.

Authorities plan to focus on this market as a means to sustain Bali's tourism industry until it can properly reopen. The holiday hot spot is known for its beach clubs, terraced rice fields, surf spots and temples and typically welcomes around six million overseas visitors every year.

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