Stranded Chinese tourists choose Bali over Wuhan

DENPASAR – Thousands of Chinese tourists stranded in Bali are ready to put their feet up and enjoy an extended stay rather than risk a trip back to China during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Indonesian government’s decision to halt flights to and from mainland China, which began  Wednesday midnight, does not stop Chinese tourists from transitting home via some of Indonesia’s neighbours.

Most of them, however, are hoping to get a visa extension rather than risk exposure to the Wuhan coronavirus, the Jakarta Post reported.

“Most are worried to go back home for fear of getting infected with the coronavirus,” said Elsye Deliana, chairman of Bali Liang, a member of the Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (Asita) that handles the Chinese market.

It is believed that up to 5,000 Chinese are stranded in Bali.

Bali Tourism Agency head Putu Astawa said the Bali administration would help Chinese tourists who were willing to extend their visas in Bali.

“We’ve coordinated with the immigration office. They said they could extend the tourist visas, as long as there is a recommendation from the Bali administration,” Astawa said.