DENPASAR, Bali, 15 June 2021: Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism says Bali could reopen to international tourists as early as this July, the Antara news agency reported at the weekend.
“We continue to make preparations for the recovery of tourism in Bali. Of course, in response to the COVID-19 case spike in several areas, we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Bali that is currently under control,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno told local media.
Uno and Bali Governor Wayan Koster held a meeting last week to discuss the current situation and begin preparations to reopen Bali’s tourism sector but still with strict health measures in place.
Bali’s tourism officials are looking closely at the successful Maldives model that has seen the country welcome around visitors monthly since last July. They are also keeping an eye on Thailand’s efforts to welcome vaccinated tourists to Phuket, possibly as early as 1 July.
“At an early week meeting, the president will monitor in detail the progress in vaccinations and (the implementation of) health protocols as well as Covid-19 handling,” Antara quoted the minister. “If the pre-conditions are achieved, of course, the final decision will depend on the readiness of the travel corridor arrangements currently being prepared by the foreign affairs minister.”
Minister Uno praised Bali for being one of the provinces that have successfully rolled out a Covid-19 vaccination programme and geared up testing and preventative measures to combat the pandemic.
Bali should administer around 6 million vaccine doses by July this year. Around 50% of the vaccine distribution has been achieved on the island, Uno remarked.
Last week Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced that the reopening plans focused on the three Bs – Bali, Batam and Bintan – looking at a July opening date. It will in part, depend on whether Indonesia can secure a travel bubble scheme with Singapore.
If the three Bs could be part of a travel bubble, Singaporeans could avoid the need for a 14-day quarantine or self-isolation on their return home.
So far, Indonesia’s foreign ministry has not identified the countries targeted for the travel bubble negotiations.
Back in March, Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno told reporters Australia would be among several countries he hoped could be included in a “Covid-free corridor.”
As far as Bali is concerned, Australia would be a priority, but there is also potential for a travel bubble with New Zealand. Unfortunately, none of the so-called travel bubbles succeeded in taking off but not for want of trying.
Meanwhile, Bali authorities are speeding up vaccinations and hoping that airlines in neighbouring ASEAN countries’ airlines will be willing to increase services next month.
Indonesia reported 7,465 new cases on 12 June. Cumulative cases reached 1,911,358 and deaths 52,879 since records began in February 2020.
(Source: News Antara)