Indonesia’s Island of the Gods hopes to reopen to foreign travelers under a new scheme that will restrict their movements to certain areas.
Bali Governor I Wayan Koster has said that several of Indonesia’s ministers have backed his plan to set up a “Covid-free corridor” for domestic and international visitors, encompassing southern Bali’s Nusa Dua enclave and the cultural heart of Ubud. He made the announcement during a virtual press conference hosted by the Indonesian health ministry earlier this week.
However, the timeline for this scheme is dependent on the speed of the island’s vaccine rollout. Provincial authorities in Bali are now prioritizing those in the tourism industry to accelerate the reopening of international travel. According to Koster, around 50,000 local residents and workers in Ubud will need to receive the jabs, while another 10,000 people working in tourism in Nusa Dua must also be inoculated against the virus. A total of 120,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be required, and the governor hopes that vaccination efforts will be completed later this month, with the aim of welcoming domestic visitors in May. “If this is successful,” Koster said to tourism minister Sandiaga Uno, who was also in attendance, “we hope to start opening up to foreign tourists of several countries with the same treatment, being vaccinated and so on.”
No further details have been released on how Bali’s government would restrict the movements of visitors to the two areas, or prevent potential cross-infection with the local populace. A sticking point is the limited geographic scope of the “Covid-free corridor,” which will not benefit hotels, restaurants, and other businesses in the popular beachside resort areas of Canggu, Seminyak, and Jimbaran, nor the cliff-top lodgings and beach clubs of the Bukit Peninsula. Bali has been open for domestic tourists since last August, and all arrivals by air are required to undergo a strict pre-departure screening process. Those flying in from other parts of Indonesia must prove to be free of the virus through rapid antigen tests taken within 24 hours of departure or a PCR test conducted no more than two days before the trip.