BALI, 28 September 2021: Indonesia is increasing the pace towards reopening the island to international visitors, possibly as early as mid-October.
The Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy and Head of Tourism and Creative Economy Agency, Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, held meetings with Bali’s tourism stakeholders to speed up reopening criteria and plans that will be submitted for a final round of discussion on 30 September.
The results and recommendations from the meetings at the weekend will be submitted to the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, during a Ministerial meeting at the end of the month.
“From the inputs submitted by the deputy governor and tourism stakeholders, the conditions for reopening and the preparation steps have entered the final stage,” Luhut explained. “We will prepare everything during October 2021.”
Preparations will include creating suitable tour packages, and hotel stays for destinations in the island’s green zone.
Ideally, all tourist destinations in Bali should be included in the green zone category, but during the reopening phase later in October, it is more likely the government will approve three pilot locations tagged SUN destinations (Sanur, Ubud, and Nusa Dua). They will be the first to welcome foreign tourists.
Details of the countries eligible to visit the three pilot destinations have yet to be finalised, but it is likely to be limited to territories that have successfully managed the spread of the pandemic, particularly the Delta variant.
“We continue to monitor, and there are several countries that are potential targets, and this will also be discussed on 30 September 2021… We want nature and culture-based tourism, sustainable tourism will become the latest trend of post-pandemic Indonesian tourism, the industry must prepare special interest tourism packages, cultural tourism, tourist villages, and this is what we are aiming for in the future to achieve sustainable tourism, ” the minister stated.
Meanwhile, Bali Deputy Governor Cok Ace noted, the government continues to monitor the Covid-19 situation in an effort to welcome foreign tourists back to Bali.
“There are several plans (related to whether or not we can open Bali in the near future… We hope to have plans A, B and C. So it’s not a matter of opening or closing, but levels that we need related to quarantine places and accommodation,” he said.
In related news, Antara reported that the Indonesian government had selected the tourist area of Lagoi in Bintan district for the launch of the first travel corridor or “travel bubble” with Singapore.
But with a spike in Covid-19 cases and Singapore’s return to stricter control measures limiting social activities while closing schools, the travel bubble might be delayed yet again.
A limited border opening with Singapore was supposed to be implemented in September 2021, but due to the Covid-19 situation, it has since been postponed until October.