The pandemic has left Bali looking like a deserted island, with surreal images on social media revealing one of WA’s favourite resorts on the holiday island is currently sitting empty due to COVID-19.
Indonesia Institute president Ross Taylor told The West Live he spoke to the owner of the popular Padma Resort in Legian, who said the economic situation for tourism operators in Bali has been dire since international tourism was effectively stopped in March last year.
“It’s probably the most popular hotel for West Aussie families, with 375 rooms, and I was talking to the owner yesterday and he was saying it’s really eerie because the five swimming pools are just lying idle,” Taylor said.
“There’s not one room taken, it’s just deadly quiet, and he said at this time of year, normally, they’d be running at 98 per cent capacity.”
Even though COVID has seen international tourism numbers plummet to effectively zero, Taylor said big resorts such as the Padma haven’t just been sitting around twiddling their thumbs.
“Many of them have spent this time doing really good renovations, we’re seeing wellness centres being built to try and diversify the economy a bit,” Taylor revealed.
“And some really good restaurants are in the pipeline to come up, so what their plan is in Bali is once we get over this COVID issue … is to bounce back better and stronger than before.”
However, the Indonesia Institute president said it could still be sometime before West Aussies get to visit Perth’s northernmost suburb once more.
“Sadly, my own personal view is that I think it will probably not be later this year, I think it will be sometime next year,” Taylor said.
This week Bali received a batch of more than 130,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, as local officials move into the second phase of the mass vaccination program in Denpasar.
Officials have signalled vaccinating frontline tourism workers as a priority in re-establishing international visitation to the island.
Bali vice governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati last week called on the Indonesia Government to explore the possibility of introducing “travel corridors” with countries that have implemented mass vaccination programs.
As of this week, Bali has had 32,789 confirmed COVID cases, with 29,521 recoveries and 881 deaths.