Bali Could Reopen to Foreign Tourists in July

Authorities plan to relax entry restrictions after vaccinating nearly 60 percent of the island’s population.

Mount Agung, Bali’s highest peak, seen above a bay in Amed. (Photo: Pitua Sutanto/Unsplash)

Indonesia now hopes to welcome overseas visitors to its most celebrated destination by the middle of this year. The country’s recently installed Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, has said that international flights to Bali would only resume after multi-stage trials involving a pilot project (possibly with special charters) and various simulations to improve the readiness of airport authorities. He added that the island’s wider reopening to overseas visitors also hinges on the speed and progress of the local inoculation program.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently set a target of vaccinating 2.5 million people in Bali — just under 60 percent of its population — before July. The immunization drive has already begun with 500,000 doses of the Chinese-developed Sinovac vaccine, and local authorities hope to further suppress Covid-19 infection rates through the strict enforcement of health protocols.

Late last week, CNN Indonesia reported that Sandiaga said Bali’s reopening depended on whether Indonesia’s coronavirus outbreak was under control, and if the overall handling of the situation was deemed adequate by other countries. According to The Australian Financial Review, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi is currently pursuing bilateral agreements to create “travel corridors” with nations such as China, Singapore, South Korea, and the Netherlands. The UAE and Qatar are also being seen as potential partners, though Australia — one of the most important sources of foreign tourists for Bali and Indonesia as a whole — is conspicuously absent.

But it’s understood that these corridors will not be two-way quarantine-free arrangements like the upcoming travel bubbles between Australia and New Zealand or Hong Kong and Singapore. Aside from being tested for Covid-19 prior to departure and again on arrival, travelers from the eligible countries will likely have to self-isolate in selected hotels for several days before being allowed to explore the island.

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