Bali: Country Closed To Foreign Tourists Until The End Of 2020
The Indonesian island of Bali will not open to foreign tourists again this year, due to coronavirus concerns.
Authorities of the popular holiday destination had earlier said foreign visitors would be allowed to return from next month.
But the plan has been scrapped over concerns about Indonesia's mounting COVID-19 cases.
The move has renewed worries about the impact on residents in an economy heavily dependent on tourism.
Millions of foreigners fly to Bali each year in search of deserted beaches, terraced rice fields and sprawling Hindu temples.
But their numbers have dropped sharply since Indonesia closed its borders to non-residents, like other countries battling with the pandemic.
Since the end of July the island has turned to domestic visitors to help its ravaged tourism industry, the heart of the local economy, reopening beaches, temples and other landmarks to local travellers.
But hotels and restaurants have been struggling to survive, with many resort workers returning home to villages and small towns to earn an income.
"The situation in Indonesia is not conducive to allow international tourists to visit the country, including Bali," said the island's governor, Wayan Koster, in a recent statement.
The statement did not specify when Bali would reopen to foreign travellers but said Indonesia would not be open to international tourists "until end of 2020".
The governor said reopening would require "prudency" and careful preparation, because failure could damage the island's recovery and reputation.
Bali had reported 4,576 coronavirus infections and 52 deaths as of Monday.
Nationwide, Indonesia has reported more than 155,000 coronavirus infections and at least 6,759 deaths - the highest number of fatalities in South East Asia. Experts believe the numbers would be higher if there was more testing.