Bali relies on tourism
In Bali, the tourism sector represents 80% of the Economy and 60% of Bali gross regional product. Taxi drivers, diving teachers, hotels and restaurants employees, souvenir shops keepers, tour guides, ferry companies, all depend on tourism. In Bali maybe more than anywhere else, tourism is essential to the locals. Unfortunately, this idyllic island, like the rest of the world, is now facing a crisis without a foreseeable end: COVID-19.
COVID-19 devastates Bali
An attempt to pivot towards domestic tourism has offered hardly any respite. An occupancy rate above 40 percent is said to be the minimum threshold for hotels to turn a profit, but the rate has only hovered between 5 and 9 percent since Bali opened to domestic travelers in late July.
Coronavirus in Lombok and the Gilis
“Locals just need a job. But getting a job now is very complicated. This is also because foreign companies, such as the many hotels & resorts on Lombok which used to hire locals, are now bankrupt or don't want to open because it will not cover the costs”.
“We have had tough times for 3 years already. First, we had the eruption of Bali’s volcano in 2017, disrupting tourism that year, then we had the 7.0 earthquake on Lombok in 2018, and right after the recovery time we now have Corona!”
"South Lombok tourism industry is new and still developing, so locals here are used to living from agriculture and other resources, therefore I don't see too much desperation yet... In north Lombok and Gili most locals have lived from tourism for a long time, so the situation is much worse there. I've even heard of houses being broken into, sadly effecting some of my friends"
How can you help the locals?
Once the pandemic is controlled, you could return to Bali. The locals are looking forward to a time when tourists will return to Bali and help restore the economy. When you return to Bali, consider buying more from street vendors who are likely to have been the worst hit. If you can permit it - explore more of the region than you may have previously considered. Bali, Lombok, Lembongan, Penida and the Gili islands are all within easy reach of each other and offer something unique and worth experiencing.