The Year of the Rat Starts Inauspiciously in Bali
Novel Coronavirus Estimated to Have Cost Bali 10,000 Chinese Holidaymakers Over Chinese New Year Period.
Beritabali.com reports the growing global fear of contamination by the Novel Coronavirus will cause countless deaths is expected to cause thousands of Chinese tourists to cancel their holidays in Bali over the Chinese Lunar New Year period. Tens of travel and tour agencies in Bali specializing on the Chinese tourist market are suffering losses as cancellations roll in.
Elsye Deliana, the chairperson for “Bali Liang” the Chinese Committee of the Bali Chapter of the Association of Indonesian Tour Agencies (ASITA), outlined the business “hit” currently being experienced by agencies in Bali who focus on the Chinese travel market during a meeting at the Bali Tourism Board in Denpasar in Monday, January 27, 2020.
Elsye Deliana commented: “In 2019, there was a downturn in Chinese tourist visitors to Bali, but as Chinese New Year approached Chinese visitors increased 2 to 3 fold. But (this year) since January 27th , the Chinese Government has forbidden its citizens to travel overseas to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.”
Elsye said that the Chinese market operators in Bali have been badly affected by the current condition. While the Chinese market took great care to book their holidays far in advance, these bookings are now generally being canceled.
“It has been devastating. Booking for Chinese New Year have been made and the hotels all paid in advance. But what can we do? This is an ordeal we must try to overcome. Hopefully, this will quickly pass and be over in 2-3 months. Later, we will promote Bali heavily because the Chinese market likes Bali. Fortunately, no confirmed cases have been reported in Bali, while Singapore has confirmed active cases. So far, we have been spared by God although we are suffering greatly,” explained Deliana.
While she said that final data was still being tabulated, Elsye estimated that over the Chinese New Year’s 5,000 to 10,000 Chinese tourists have canceled their Bali holidays. Adding: “All the data is not in, but I feel not less than 10,000 Chinese tourists have cancelled trips to Bali that are handled by the 50 or so travel agents in Bali who deal with the Chinese market. During Chinese New Year’s, all Chinese market travel agents in Bali will get a share of the business because it is ‘high season.’ In the past, every Chinese New Year has seen an increase in visitors.”
The head of the Provincial Tourism Service for Bali (Kadisparda) Putu Astawa, lamented the unwanted downturn in business occasioned by the novel coronavirus outbreak. “We need to take this situation as a lesson and learn to do some introspection and determine the areas in which we are failing as tourism stakeholders. We can move on from this moment and improve our competitiveness for the future. Bali is also facing problems with trash disposal, traffic congestion, and water supply. Now is the right time to rebuild Bali Tourism for the future,” said Astawa.