Bali Selects Four Countries for Planned International Travel Reopening in October

Bali Selects Four Countries for Planned International Travel Reopening in October
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Bali’s intended reopening to international travelers has fallen through a few times this year, due to COVID-19 outbreaks, but officials now say they expect to realize a limited reopening before the end of October.

Indonesia suffered heavily from a fresh wave of infections that arose in June with the arrival of the Delta variant, sending Bali into lockdown. Now, however, the number of new cases is declining across the country, and vaccination rates have increased, raising hopes for finally restoring its tourism industry.

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Bali’s Deputy Governor, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati (Cok Ace) confirmed to The Bali Sun that the Indonesian central government plans on reopening the island by October to a select set of foreign visitors by establishing ‘travel corridor’ arrangements with a handful of countries. To pave the way, Bali’s provincial government has already selected the first four nations from which it will welcome tourists: the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Russia.

“We have selected multiple countries such as Russia, America, Germany and England to start implementing the travel bubble program based on their length of stay in Bali. And visitors from those countries usually spend around 2 weeks on the island.” Cok Ace revealed on Monday. He said that these countries were chosen based on the central government’s regulations.

While Indonesia as a whole hasn’t gotten too far in its vaccine rollout, with less than 19 percent of its overall population now fully vaccinated, the push has been stronger in tourism hotspots, such as Bali. “According to the recent data, around 97 percent of Bali residents have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and 75 percent of people have completed the second dose. The vaccination program is expected to finish in the beginning of October,” Cok Ace said.

While plans haven’t yet been solidified, Bali’s provincial government has prepared three separate schemes that could be implemented when receiving international visitors:

—Permitting tourist access to the entire island, if the potential for COVID-19 transmission is well-controlled.

—Permitting tourists to access designated ‘green zone areas’ only, in the event that COVID-19 cases begin to surge.

—Limiting tourists’ freedom of movement within the green zone areas, should COVID-19 infections continue to surge.

“Before reopening our border, we also need to prepare for the worst scenario to prevent COVID-19 transmissions to surge like in Singapore.” Cok Ace added. Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Sandiago Uno likewise told Phuket-based outlet Thaiger that Bali’s reopening would need to proceed carefully. “My recommendation is that we move cautiously. There are new variants lurking. We need to take baby steps.”

A representative from Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism also told CNBC that, “Australia most likely will be put into consideration once it already achieved 80 percent vaccination rate.” The spokesperson also confirmed that, as of September 17, Bali was on track to reopen in October.





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