Eerie photos of an empty Bali airport have emerged on social media and many locals are saying tourism has been decimated by the Coronavirus.
Many streets that used to be packed with Chinese tourists have now become barren following a sweeping flight ban by Indonesian officials.
There are struggling businesses that have been forced to cut staff and shopping centres have been left empty.
Indonesia suspended flights to and from mainland China on Wednesday, leaving an estimated 5,000 Chinese people stuck on the island.
Australians on the island fear many local businesses will collapse if Chinese tourism does not return soon.
‘The coronavirus is already hitting the Balinese economy hard,’ an Australian tourist posted on Facebook.
‘We are staying at the lovely Anvaya (hotel) in Kuta and occupancy is only 50 per cent and staff have been laid off.’
One tour operator, Enrico from Bali Flow Tours told The Bali Sun that his 7 drivers are also without work. He said he’s worried about his once booming business and hopes it will recover soon.
“I hope things will recover soon, I just received another message this morning. It seems like I keep getting cancelations and it’s not just from Chinese tourists,” said Enrico.
Some locals even fear the financial impact will be as devastating economically as the Bali Bombings of 2002.
‘One of our Bali friends employs 20 drivers who drive Chinese on their tours and they have zero work,’ one Australian tourist said.
‘Locals have fresh memories of what it was like when tourists stopped coming after the bombings. The fear is there again.’
Other Australian said fear of the disease had caused some panic with people rushing out to buy hand sanitiser from stores.
‘Went to nine different mini marts yesterday and all sold out,’ a woman wrote online.
Around 2.1 million Chinese travelled to Bali last year making the nation the second most popular visitors after Malaysia.
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