Photos of a virtually deserted Bali Airport have revealed the devastating impact COVID-19 coronavirus is having on the Indonesian island’s tourism industry.
The photographs of Ngurah Rai International Airport were taken by an employee from Kania Bali Tour at 9.30am on Thursday.
They showed the once-bustling international airport almost devoid of people, accompanied by the caption: ‘Bali Airport Today at 9.30am. Very Empty. Bali very sad and hard life.’
Indonesia has 34 confirmed cases of the virus, including a 53-year-old woman from the UK who died from COVID-19 on the holiday island on Wednesday morning.
The tour group employee told Daily Mail Australia that March is normally a busy time.
‘Every country has travel warnings now not to travel to Indonesia,’ he said.
‘I understand that corona is very bad for the tourism industry, but now everyone is scared come to Bali.’
He used the comments section on the airport’s Facebook page to plead with tourists to give his company some business.
‘If you still come to Bali for your holiday, use our transport service,’ he wrote.
The tour operator explained that by visiting the resort holiday island and spending money, customers can help local families survive the slump.
‘No tourists, no money,’ he wrote.
Bali lovers and travellers who booked their holidays through the tour group were both worried and devastated by the photos.
‘Soooo hoping our holiday doesn’t get cancelled,’ one person commented.
‘Hopefully you still come,’ an employee replied.
‘Omg I’ve never seen this. So sad for Bali,’ another wrote.
But many Facebook users vowed to go ahead with their travel plans to support the island’s struggling tourism industry.
‘We will be there March 26 and I can’t wait,’ one woman wrote.
‘We are coming for Easter,’ another commented.
Government advice for Australians going to Indonesia was upgraded last week to advise them to ‘exercise a high level of caution’ due to the spread of the virus.
Indonesia announced seven new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday night.
The Chair of Bali’s COVID-19 task force, Dewa Made Indra, said the 53-year-old British woman who died had underlying conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperthyroidism and lung disease, 7 News reported.
She started showing symptoms on March 3 – three days after she arrived on the island – and was treated for five days before she was taken to Sanglah Hospital, near Kuta, where she died.
Bali authorities believe she did not get the virus on the island.
Mr Indra said everyone who she came into contact with the virus has been contacted and asked to self-isolate.
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Source: The Daily Mail