Before then, the island will serve as a testing ground for a new government-driven health and safety program that will be rolled out in destinations all across Indonesia.
According to a press statement made by Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani, secretary of Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Bali may reopen to international visitors in October, alongside other regions that have so far seen low rates of Covid-19 transmission. These include Yogyakarta on Java, as well as Batam and Bintan in the Riau Islands, the latter a popular beach escape for weekending Singapore residents. Another area under consideration is Manado in North Sulawesi, the gateway to the diving hot spots of Bunaken National Park and the Lembeh Strait.
In the same statement, Giri said the Indonesian tourism ministry is now developing what it calls the Cleanliness, Health, and Safety program, or CHS, in line with the new demands of post-pandemic travelers. He explained that the CHS movement “aims to increase tourist confidence in Indonesian destinations and the industry after Covid-19” and will help speed up the recovery of the local hospitality and tourism sector.
Before implementing CHS nationwide—which will involve the verification, audit, and certification of attractions, hotels, and establishments by relevant organizations—the initial stage is set to begin with a pilot project in Bali. This is expected to happen first in the upscale resort area of Nusa Dua, a choice that Bali’s deputy governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati said was a natural one, given how it is “physically isolated, far from settlements, and with complete [tourist] facilities.”
Of course, the gradual reopening of Bali to international tourism remains dependent on how the province flattens the curve over the coming weeks and months. This morning, local news outlets reported that more than 71 percent of all confirmed Covid-19 patients on the island had recovered from the disease. Bali has recorded a total of 384 infections as of May 18, a fraction of the numbers seen coronavirus “red zones” elsewhere in the country.