We thought that it’s hard. But nothing makes it even harder when faced with the actual numbers.
In this case, the number of foreign tourists coming into our beloved island in the first half of this 2021. You read it right: only 43 came in. Just for comparison, in the same period just a year before, when the pandemic began, there were 1,066,171 tourists – which was already a one-sixth shortfall compared to the pre-pandemic days. Out of that 43, ten were recorded in January, 12 in February, three in March, nine in April and just the one in May.
Travel restrictions from many countries who were usually our biggest contributors, such as Australia, China and Japan, caused the drastic plunge. I know this is inevitable, and probably, for a better situation in the longer run. But considering how superior our tourism was, this is just depressing. And truly, it’s terrifying to try to predict when no clear plan to handle the situation has ever been enforced. No lockdowns, no financial aids, and until recently, no free vaccine distribution for the masses. Nearly every sector of the island’s tourism has been affected, millions lost their income, and we can’t even see the end of the tunnel yet. Before we know it, we will react to closed establishments and empty streets as common normalcy instead of a problem to solve.
Anyway, if we’re looking for good news, there’s a little to be hopeful, though. Domestic tourists entering the island reached half of the numbers in normal times, recording 8,000 visitors as of June. Helped by numerous price cuts and budget packages for airlines and accommodations (as well as the “work from Bali” initiative), this also spiked up the hotel occupancy numbers to 16.05%.