International tourists can now visit Bali, an Indonesian island resort, to see its shops and white-sand beach for the first time since last year.
Foreign visitors might be slower to arrive. On the opening day, no international flights to Bali were planned. A tourism official predicted that travel to Bali would increase in November.
New foreign arrivals to Bali’s airport are welcome from 19 countries that have met the criteria of the World Health Organization, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, who is the minister responsible for the COVID-19 response in Java, and Bali, announced in a statement on Wednesday.
All international passengers on international flights must show proof that they have been vaccinated twice, be negative for coronavirus at arrival in Bali, and then undergo a five-day quarantine at designated hotels at the passenger’s expense. They will also need to adhere to strict rules in hotels, restaurants, and on beaches.
Pandjaitan stated, “We must do this with caution because it is important to remain alert.”
President Joko Widodo gave credit to Bali’s high vaccine rate for the decision not to reopen. After a peak of 56,000 in July, Indonesia’s COVID-19 cases have fallen significantly. In the past week, Indonesia saw around 1,000 cases per day.
The main source of income for the idyllic “island” is tourism. It is home to over 4 million people who are mostly Hindus in the predominantly Muslim archipelago nation. After terror attacks on foreigners killed many tourists in Bali, Bali’s tourist areas were abandoned two decades ago. However, the island has managed to rebuild that image.
Before the pandemic, more than 6 million foreigners visited Bali every year.
The number of foreign tourists visiting Bali fell sixfold, from 6.2million in 2019 to just 1 million in 2020. 92,000 people who were employed in tourism lost jobs. In Bali, the average occupancy rate for classified hotels was below 20%. Statistics Indonesia data revealed that the island’s economy declined 9.31% last year.
In the middle of last, Indonesians from other parts opened Bali to visitors after it was closed to tourists early in the pandemic. This allowed the island’s gross national product to grow by a modest 2.83% during the second quarter of this year. It ended five consecutive quarters in contraction.
The island’s streets and beaches were completely empty due to the July surge. The authorities closed the airport, restricted public activities and shut down all bars, restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions spots on the island. In August, it was reopened for domestic travel.
General manager of Bali’s Tandjung Sari Hotel Sang Putu Wibawa stated that only two rooms are occupied on an average. He hoped the reopening would increase the occupancy rate.
He said, “We have been waiting so long for this moment.” “This epidemic has devastated the local economy…we are excited to receive foreign guests, provided we observe health protocols.”
Widodo stated that Bali’s high vaccination rate and desire to revitalize its economy were the main reasons for reopening it. He stated that more than 80% have been fully vaccinated in Bali.
Widodo posted on Saturday, his official Instagram, that “Based on these circumstances, I am optimistic” and that he had decided to reopen international flight to Bali.
Overall, Indonesia has 59.4million people who are fully vaccinated. Another 43.2 million are part-vaccinated. More than 4.2 Million cases have been confirmed in Indonesia, and there have been 142,811 people who died from COVID-19. This is the highest number of Southeast Asian countries.
Tourists from 19 countries can now visit Bali and Riau islands provinces – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates. New Zealand. Kuwait. Bahrain. Qatar. China. India. Japan. South Korea. Liechtenstein. Italy. France. Portugal. Spain. Sweden. Hungary.
According to Putu Astawa (head of the Bali Tourism Office), tourists did not arrive immediately because of the timing.
Schedule flights to Bali take time. Tourists need to organize travel documents, such as tickets, insurance, virus tests, and five-day quarantine accommodations.
He forecast that new visitors would begin to arrive in November.