Nineteen years ago today, twin bombings at two popular nightclubs devastated the tourism industry in Bali, so severe that the Indonesian government moved nearly all international gatherings it hosted to the famous resort island to help it regain international confidence.
But there was hardly an event to remember the attacks that killed more than 200 people on Monday, as Bali is dealing with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic that left hotel occupancy down to nearly zero and many people unemployed.
“The situation is much worse today than 18 years ago,” I Nyoman Depu, who runs a scuba dive business in Denpasar, as cited from the Jakarta Globe.
“The impact from the pandemic is much worse.”
Since many countries imposed travel restrictions in April followed by Indonesia’s decision to close borders for non-essential travelers, fewer than 500 foreign tourists have landed in Bali’s international airport, according to data from the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry.
By comparison, international arrivals in Bali dropped from 1.3 million in 2002 to around 100,000 in 2003 due to the economic impacts of the bombings.
Bali, whose economy depends largely on the tourism sector, was the hardest hit by the economic impact of the pandemic with a contraction of 10.98 percent in the second quarter.