Why Bali will never be the same again after Covid

Why Bali will never be the same again after Covid ravaged the holiday island as new images show the once-bustling beaches and resorts as a barren wasteland

  • Once bustling tourist destination is sadly a barren wasteland in some parts
  • Locals in Bali fear life will never be the same following the global pandemic
  • In Bali, over 37,000 deaths have been recorded with 1.3million confirmed cases

It was once an iconic tourist destination for thousands of Australian travellers, but life in Bali following Covid is anything but a holiday. 

Before the global pandemic hit last year the island paradise was a celebrated rite of passage for Aussies of all ages, enticed by cheap beers, great shopping and endless beaches. 

These days Bali, which had just one million visitors last year compared to 6.28million in 2019, is a barren wasteland, with empty hotels and the Denpasar Airport resembling a ghost town.

A documentary from ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program has revealed how the iconic getaway destination is a shadow of its former self, with many locals fearing it will never recover.  

Bali’s world class beaches used to lure in scores of eager tourists from all parts of the globe

The international airport in Denpasar was bustling with tourists before the global pandemic

With an estimated 80 per cent of Bali’s economy reliant on tourists, the pandemic has forced locals to accept the grim realisation that the ‘glory days’ of yesteryear are now just a distant memory.

Foreign tourists are still barred from entering the country due to Covid, with the domino effect seeing many locals returning to their villages or trying their hand at other manual roles such as farming seaweed.

‘Walking through the international airport, a place I have been to many times in my life, is just quite surreal,’ Foreign Correspondent journalist Matt Davis said in the confronting documentary. 

‘It is normally bustling with international tourists but now is so quiet I can hear the air conditioner… that’s the only sound.’ 

Davis added the moment many countries across the globe imposed mandatory lockdowns, the number of visitors to Bali quickly dropped to zero.

And once the tourism was stopped dead in its tracks, the Indonesian nation was left reeling. 

Bali has endured a significant reduction in tourists previously, with a notable example following the Kuta terrorist attack in 2002 which claimed 88 Australian lives.

But the immense difficulty surrounding how to adapt to life during a global pandemic has left many local businesses in ruins.  

A decade ago, Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan islands, away from the mainland, saw tourists eagerly flock in droves on a daily basis.

Now the famous international airport resembles a ghost town, with no tourism due to Covid

The popular Kuta beach is now only used by locals, with tourists banned from entering Bali

At the time, it wasn’t unusual to see up to 20 boats each day, with tourists lapping up the plethora of waterside villas and luxury restaurants.

Fast forward to 2021 and just two boats now run each day from the mainland.

Pontoons catering for guests, which used to be full, now lie abandoned in the ocean, with some even submerged.  

In terms of statistics, Indonesia’s Covid-19 outbreak is confronting, with over 37,000 deaths and 1.3million confirmed cases.  

For a country that needs tourists to thrive, Bali is floundering. Sadly, it may be  permanent.

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