Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA) - The tourism industry in the Indonesian resort island of Bali has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, with arrivals of domestic and foreign tourists plunging sharply over the past few months, an official revealed.

Bali’s tourism industry has suffered a big blow not just on account of the global pandemic, but also the travel restrictions currently imposed in Indonesia, said Putu Astawa, head of the Bali Provincial Government's Tourism Office I, here on Saturday

As a result of the decline in the number of visitors, the occupancy rates at many hotels in the resort island are low.

At present, Bali is receiving around 500 tourists per day, while, normally, the number of foreign tourist arrivals was pegged between 10,500 and 11,000 per day. The majority of the travelers were Australians, Astawa said.

The lack of visitors has made job opportunities scarce for tourist guides in the resort island, he said, adding that the gloomy situation would hopefully end in May.

According to the Bali Office of Statistics Indonesia (BPS), in February, 2020, the resort island welcomed 363,937 foreign travelers, a decline of 31.19 percent compared to January.

In the month of February, international tourists arrived in Bali from such countries as Australia, India, Japan, Russia, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, South Korea, France, Germany, Malaysia, and mainland China.

The novel coronavirus disease, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 and has infected more than one million people all over the world, has also affected the tourism industry in many other Indonesian cities.

In the South Sumatra city of Palembang, for instance, several hoteliers have considered closing their business temporarily due to poor occupancy rates over the past three months in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Head of South Sumatra Province's Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) Herlan Aspiudin had said earlier that the occupancy rates had dropped due to the postponement of several MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) programs.

The decline in the number of visitors had also been brought about by the postponement of travel packages as well as the local authorities' decision to declare an emergency status following the death of a local resident, Aspiudin said.

Coronavirus infections have spread to various provinces in Indonesia. As of Saturday, the country has reported 2,092 confirmed cases and 191 deaths. Meanwhile, 150 patients have been discharged from hospitals.

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Translator: Agu KP, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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