Charter Flights Scheduled For June
Foreign tourists may be able to visit Bali again as soon as June under a travel corridor program to help revive the economy. The travel arrangement will be offered to countries that are deemed successful in their vaccination program, able to contain the spread of the coronavirus and could offer reciprocal benefits.
Ubud, Sanur and Nusa Dua are major holiday spots in Bali included in a pilot project to begin receiving foreign travelers in mid-June or July, under strict health protocols.
Wayan Koster, Bali’s Governor, unveiled a plan to reopen the tourism sector in Bali specifically in the green zone or in areas with minimal risk of transmission of Covid-19. The ‘Green Zone’ is a safe Covid-19-free area to receive international travelers in the near future as the border reopens. Indonesia will welcome chartered flights carrying international travelers under the pilot project, which will be closely monitored and evaluated.
Koster announced three phases to Bali’s reopening:
- Phase one allowed many essential businesses to reopen last July.
- Phase two allowed for increased domestic travel shortly thereafter.
- Phase three, which has already been delayed, allows for reopening the island to foreign visitors again.
Indonesia began easing restrictions after gross domestic product shrank last year for the first time in two decades. The pandemic killed at least 39,000 people in Indonesia.Bali reopened to domestic tourists last August. It planned to reopen to international tourists last September, but the government scrapped that plan when cases of Covid-19 spiked again. On December 28, Indonesia announced a temporary ban on the entry of all foreign nationals into Indonesia. The designation of green zones will allow both international and domestic travelers to visit the island again. The news comes amidst declining COVID-19 cases on the island.
“Domestic and international travelers will be only allowed to visit these Covid-19 free areas,” said Koster.
While Bali hasn’t announced the final site details, Tourism Minister Sandiaga indicated that the destinations include:
- Nusa Dua;
- Sanur; and
- Nusa Penida.
The popular tourist site of Nusa Dua was among the first in Bali to establish a pandemic-free zone concept in November. The southern Bali peninsula began implementing stringent protocols for staff and visitors to eliminate the risk of transmission at resorts.
“After observing the Covid-19 cases in the last several weeks in Bali, I think it’s time for us to start reopening our border one step at a time for international visitors with strict prevention protocols in place” Uno explained.
He also stated that the plan to reopen the travel corridor was initiated after seeing an increase in the compliance level of Bali people to follow the prevention protocols in public areas. Indonesia will deport those who purposely violate health protocols.
“In the Nusa Dua Green Zone, resorts will test visitors upon arrival. All staff will reside within the property to minimize transmission coming in from outside the resort,” explained Doddy Dwinandam, VP of Destination Planning of Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation.
Now in phase two, Bali plans to distribute 600,000 doses by July. More than 13,000 medical workers have been immunized thus far, while also targeting police, military, government officials, journalists, market vendors, tourism workers, and the elderly. Workers in the tourism industry are eligible for the vaccine now.
Bali is Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination. More than 6.3 million people visited the island in 2019. The international travel ban has cost the nation and the island billions of dollars. Those who work in the tourism industry have been hit extremely hard. In addition to the tourism sector, the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture will resume to in-person learning at schools by July. Hope is on the horizon across Indonesia.
Indonesia is the fourth-largest nation in the world with more than 267 million people. The country is comprised of more than 17,500 islands, including Bali, Borneo, Java, Lombok, Sumatra and Sulawesi.