THE decline in foreign tourist arrivals to Bali has occurred before the COVID-19 pandemic entered Indonesia or since February 2020. Based on data from the Bali Tourism Office, the number of foreign tourists visiting Bali in January 2020 was 528,883 foreign tourists, an increase of 15.93% annually (year on year/YoY).

In February 2020, the number of visits was 363,937 foreign tourists, down 16.82% (YoY). The decline in foreign tourist visits then continued to deepen in March 2020 to 156,876 foreign tourists or minus 65.11% (YoY).

From April to July 2020, foreign tourists’ visits worsened with a decrease of 99.9% (YoY). This condition continued until the end of the year in line with the lockdown policy of a number of countries and a ban on the entry of foreign tourists to Indonesia.

According to the Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Putu Astawa, admitted that in February 2020 there was a decrease in foreign tourist arrivals. This decline was caused by the drop in tourist arrivals from China. The decline in Chinese tourist visits was triggered by the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China.

“In January, there is still an increase, because there have been cases in Wuhan since the end of December, resulting in a decrease in Chinese tourists to Bali. In total, foreign tourists visiting Bali during 2020 reached 1,050,504 tourists or decreased by 83.26% YoY,” he said.

He added, foreign tourist visits in 2020 were the lowest for the last 13 years. In fact, the realization is far below the number of foreign tourists visiting in 2008 which reached 1,968,892 tourists.

The highest number of foreign tourist visits occurred in 2019 which reached 6,275,210 tourists.

“The deepest drop in visits in 2020 occurred for Chinese tourists with a rate of 90.11% (YoY). From the percentage of nationalities, Australian tourists accounted for the largest portion of the visit, which was 21.17% of the total visit. The decline in Australian tourists during 2020 reached 82.14% (YoY),” he concluded. [antaranews/photo special]