The island was initially planning on reopening in September.

By Cailey Rizzo
August 24, 2020
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Credit: Dicky Bisinglasi/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Bali will not reopen to foreign travelers next month, after all.

Earlier this year, the Indonesian government announced that Bali would welcome back foreign tourists starting Sept. 11. But this week, the island’s governor announced that those plans would be delayed, due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

In a press conference, Bali’s Gov. Wayan Koster announced that the island would not welcome back international arrivals until the end of the year. The “situation in Indonesia isn’t conducive to allow international tourists to visit the country, including Bali,” Koster said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Instead, for the remainder of the year, Bali will focus on growing safe domestic tourism.

A large portion of Bali’s typical tourists, like those from Australia, are themselves facing travel bans that will not allow them to visit until 2021.

“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,” Koster said.

International tourism was suspended in April as Bali began to report a growing number of COVID-19 cases.

As tourism is the backbone of the Balinese economy,  local tourists were allowed back onto the island on July 31.

In its first two weeks of opening, an estimated 2,500 tourists arrived in Bali every day and were required to wear face masks in public and maintain social distancing. Since reopening to local tourists, Bali has not seen a major in COVID-19 cases, with no more than 75 new cases per day, according to numbers from the Bali Tourism Board.

Many of the island’s tourist attractions are outdoor and many hotel accommodations are private villas, helpful for social distancing.

Bali has reported a total of 4,368 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 51 deaths, according to the tourism board. As a whole, Indonesia has reported more than 155,000 coronavirus cases and 6,759 deaths, the highest number of fatalities in Southeast Asia.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. When in a new city, she's usually out to discover under-the-radar art, culture, and secondhand stores. No matter her location, you can find her on Twitter @cai_rizz, Instagram @cai.rizz and caileyrizzo.com.