Huge change happening in Bali as locals struggle to survive with no tourism amid


Bali is undergoing a reset as locals on the holiday island adjust to life without tourists.

The global pandemic has sparked a ‘cultural shift’ on the Indonesian destination known for its beaches, temples and vibrant nightlife.

The tourist hotspot attracted 6.3million foreign visitors in 2019 – up 3.6 per cent from a year earlier – but that number has since crashed due to coronavirus travel bans.  

The tourist-hotspot attracts millions of foreign visitors each year - which grew 3.6 per cent to 6.3million in 2019. Pictured: A woman at Kuta, Lombok, Indonesia

The tourist-hotspot attracts millions of foreign visitors each year – which grew 3.6 per cent to 6.3million in 2019. Pictured: A woman at Kuta, Lombok, Indonesia

As of June this year, however, statistics portal Statista.com recorded only 880,000 foreign tourists arriving to Bali. Pictured: Foreign tourists on a beach in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

As of June this year, however, statistics portal Statista.com recorded only 880,000 foreign tourists arriving to Bali. Pictured: Foreign tourists on a beach in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

As of June this year only 880,000 foreign tourists made it to Bali, according to Statista.com.

The lack of visitors has forced many businesses to close, including hotels and the marketplace shopfronts in Kuta.

About 81 per cent of Balinese households have been economically impacted, not-for-profit organisation Kopernik found.

In a report in June, it found 44 per cent of those surveyed had either permanently or temporarily lost their jobs as well as 56 per cent having a decrease in income. 

The lack of visitors has forced many businesses to close, such as hotels and the marketplace shopfronts in Kuta. Pictured: Closed shops in Pandawa Beach during the coronavirus crisis

The lack of visitors has forced many businesses to close, such as hotels and the marketplace shopfronts in Kuta. Pictured: Closed shops in Pandawa Beach during the coronavirus crisis

About 81 per cent of Balinese households have been economically impacted, according to not-for-profit organisation Kopernik. Pictured: Abandoned canoes and beach benches in Pandawa

About 81 per cent of Balinese households have been economically impacted, according to not-for-profit organisation Kopernik. Pictured: Abandoned canoes and beach benches in Pandawa

Musician and environmental activist Gede Robi Supriyanto said the island had relied too much on tourism and the economy was now suffering as a result.

But the Denpasar local said the loss of tourism had sparked a ‘cultural shift’, with many moving back to their villages and into the agricultural sector for work after losing their jobs. 

The island was now ‘resetting’ as residents ‘are rethinking to preserve their nature and culture’ instead of exploiting its environment for tourism, Mr Supriyanto said.

‘Bali is going back to its roots,’ he told ABC News

‘If we want to see the authentic culture of Bali, that is agriculture, we are seeing it now.’ 

Gede Robi Supriyanto (pictured), of Denpasar, Bali, told ABC the figures were the result of the island relying 'too much' on tourism and the economy falling because of it

Gede Robi Supriyanto (pictured), of Denpasar, Bali, told ABC the figures were the result of the island relying ‘too much’ on tourism and the economy falling because of it

The musician and environmental activist said it had sparked a 'cultural shift', with many moving back to their villages and into the agricultural sector for work after losing their jobs. Pictured:  A farmer harvesting red chilli at a farm in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

The musician and environmental activist said it had sparked a ‘cultural shift’, with many moving back to their villages and into the agricultural sector for work after losing their jobs. Pictured:  A farmer harvesting red chilli at a farm in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

Mr Supriyanto said the island was now 'resetting' as residents 'are rethinking to preserve their nature and culture' instead of exploiting its environment for tourism. Pictured: A vanilla farmer working at Kebon Kakek farm in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia

Mr Supriyanto said the island was now ‘resetting’ as residents ‘are rethinking to preserve their nature and culture’ instead of exploiting its environment for tourism. Pictured: A vanilla farmer working at Kebon Kakek farm in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia

On Wednesday Indonesian governor Wayan Koster banned international travellers from visiting until at least 2021, dashing hopes of a travel bubble with Australia.

Mr Koster said the nation would remain shut to foreign visitors as COVID-19 infections climb, with Indonesia counting 157,859 confirmed cases as of Thursday and 6,858 deaths.

Government officials had earlier flagged September 11 as the date the Asian country would reopen its borders to holidaymakers from Down Under.

‘The Indonesian government couldn’t reopen its doors to foreign travellers until the end of 2020 as we remain a red zone,’ Mr Koster said in a statement. 

Mr Supriyanto's comments follows Indonesian governor Wayan Koster banning international travellers from visiting until at least 2021, despite plans to launch a travel bubble with Australia. Pictured: International travellers arriving in Bali

Mr Supriyanto’s comments follows Indonesian governor Wayan Koster banning international travellers from visiting until at least 2021, despite plans to launch a travel bubble with Australia. Pictured: International travellers arriving in Bali

Government officials had earlier flagged September 11 as the date the Asian country would reopen its borders to holidaymakers from Down Under. Pictured: Closed shops in Pandawa

Government officials had earlier flagged September 11 as the date the Asian country would reopen its borders to holidaymakers from Down Under. Pictured: Closed shops in Pandawa

‘The situation is not conducive to allowing foreign tourists to come to Indonesia, including to Bali.

‘Bali cannot fail because it could adversely impact the image of Indonesia, including Bali, in the eyes of the world, which could prove counter-productive to the recovery of travel.’

Earlier this month, an Australian photographer who lives in Sanuar, documented the effect of the pandemic on Kuta – a party-centric, coastal tourist destination – in a series of confronting images taken while walking in ‘search of a fading memory’. 

Jon Gwyther’s photographs showed desolate streets with shop doors covered with graffiti and eateries shut. 

Photographer Jon Gwyther documented the pandemic's effect in Kuta (pictured) - a party-centric, coastal tourist destination usually aflutter of activity - in a series of images taken walking in 'search of a fading memory'

Photographer Jon Gwyther documented the pandemic’s effect in Kuta (pictured) – a party-centric, coastal tourist destination usually aflutter of activity – in a series of images taken walking in ‘search of a fading memory’

The 50-year-old compared the ‘world of…



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