Bali will open to some foreign travelers from mid-October


JAKARTA – Indonesia will reopen its popular tourist island of Bali to some international arrivals from mid-October, a senior official said on Monday, as the country aims to rejuvenate its travel industry which has been ravaged by the pandemic of COVID-19.

Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan said Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport will open from October 14, but those who arrive will need to be quarantined for eight days.

Pandjaitan said arrivals from countries like China, Japan and South Korea could be allowed in, but in a separate press conference Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said the eligibility list no had not been finalized.

“These will be countries that meet certain criteria, such as COVID-19 situations being under control. In that particular country, the testing requirements would be [need to] meet our standard that we both agree, “said the Minister of Tourism.

Uno said he was waiting for returning businessmen and expats “who lived in Bali, or even foreign tourists” to take advantage of the island’s reopening. Other details are still under discussion, added the Minister of Tourism.

The government initially wanted to reopen the island in July, but had to abandon the plan as cases in the country increased, including in Bali.

Tourism contributed 5.7% to Indonesia’s gross domestic product in 2019, lower than that of its neighbors like Thailand. But Bali itself is much more dependent on visitors, and its economy has been decimated by the pandemic. Bali’s GDP contracted 9.3% in 2020, suffering the worst of Indonesia’s 34 provinces.

Indonesia was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, at one point becoming the regional epicenter of the outbreak. However, cases have declined since its peak in July. The archipelagic country recorded just 922 new daily cases on Monday, well below the 50,000 the country recorded three months ago. Bali recorded just 52 cases on Monday.

While only 33.9% of the eligible population was fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data, Bali was an outlier with 60%. Jakarta has the highest vaccination rate with 75% of its population fully vaccinated.

Additional reporting by Ismi Damayanti


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