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Domestic Tourism Also Down During Pandemic

Most nations strongly advise against non–essential travel to Indonesia until further notice. Indonesia has imposed border restrictions again due to COVID-19. The nation is closed to international travelers with limited exceptions. Government run quarantine measures are in place for all foreigners.

The Indonesian government has prohibited foreign visitors from transiting and traveling to Indonesia unless they have a valid residence permit. Visa-free and visa-on-arrival entry for all foreign travelers, including U.S. citizens, remains suspended. The government has not indicated a timeline for when the restrictions on international visitors will expire. 

  • COVID-19 is currently widespread in Indonesia with continuing transmission across the country. The Indonesian government has instituted policies including mandatory compliance of mask use and social distancing. The Indonesian government has put measures in place to limit large-scale gatherings and non-essential travel. These restrictions can vary in each province, city, and/or regency.
  • Essential services are available, schools are closed, and public activities (including offices, religious activities, social and cultural gatherings and public transportation) continue to be limited to maintain social distancing. It is mandatory to wear a facemask in public. Fines and other penalties may apply for violations of the restrictions.
  • Per the current government regulations, travelers are required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 72-hours of their departure and present it to the Indonesian health authorities.
  • Following a health screening, which may include a PCR test, travelers are required to quarantine at their own expense at a government designated hotel for five days, followed by an additional period of home quarantine. Travelers are required to take a mandatory PCR test on arrival and will then be required to take a second COVID-19 PCR test while in hotel quarantine and have a negative result before proceeding to their destination.
  • COVID-19 negative results are required for domestic flights. Consult your airline for more information. Additional testing requirements have been added for travel to, from and within the islands of Java and Bali, and there is always a possibility of additional locations being added to this list. Domestic will require a negative COVID-19 antigen test conducted no more than two days before departure or a PCR test conducted three days before departure.
  • Domestic travelers to or from Bali, will require a negative COVID-19 antigen test conducted one day before departure or a PCR test conducted no more than two days before departure.

COVID-19 is a serious concern in Indonesia. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Indonesia.

Those choosing to travel to Indonesia should consult the website of their nearest Indonesian Embassy as well as the Government’s official COVID19 website for updates.

A number of restrictions are also in place for domestic air, sea and land travel, including for entry to Java and Bali.

The Bali Hotels Association (BHA) is asking everyone to do their part by wearing a mask. BHA members are making the safety and wellbeing of their guests, partners and staff remain a top priority.

“This is about public health. We are all responsible for each other’s well-being,” said Simona Chimenti, BHA’s Marketing and Media Relations Director.

Other travel advisories remain in place across Indonesia. Owing to heightened political tension in Papua and West Papua, we continue to advise Irish citizens to exercise caution if travelling to the regions. Please follow the advice of local authorities and avoid demonstrations and protests that are taking place.

Visitors are also asked to be particularly vigilant in Aceh, Central Sulawesi Province (especially near Palu, Poso and Tentena), and Maluku Province (especially Ambon), due to potential for violence or violent conflict.

Recent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis have damaged parts of Lombok, Central Sulawesi and the Sunda Strait. We still advise against non-essential travel to Central Sulawesi. If you must travel to the affected areas, you should exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities. The Gili Islands and the resort of Senggigi are once again operating normally, but visitors should remain vigilant of hazards and damaged infrastructure.

Volcanic activity throughout Indonesia frequently affects flight schedules and the operation of regional airports, including Lombok and Bali International Airports. Please heed the advice and guidance of local authorities, adhere to exclusion zones around volcanoes, and maintain contact with your airlines and tour operators.

Health and medical care standards in Indonesia can be poor and some medical tests cannot be carried out reliably. If you become ill or have an accident, it may be difficult to secure adequate treatment, particularly in remote areas. You should be aware that medevac options are currently limited.

The Indonesian government imposed its first social distancing measures last April. In June, with the number of new Covid-19 cases appearing to be stabilized, the government eased restrictions. The government’s decision to ease social-distancing rules was premature and the number of daily new cases spiked as a result.

The Indonesia economy has started to recover gradually but unevenly across sectors. Bali has clearly suffered the greatest economic impact from the coronavirus. Public and private sector leaders can prepare for the post-crisis recovery by identifying the changes necessary for the country to emerge stronger after the pandemic—to protect both lives and livelihoods. Government and corporate leaders can formulate longer-term strategies to help Indonesia develop a modern economy.

As the world slowly reopens, Indonesia will compete with other destinations around the world for fewer travelers. In mid-April, the government estimated that the country will lose more than $10 billion in tourism revenues in 2020, as foreign tourist arrivals in the country fell by at least 30 percent.

Domestic tourism can compensate for some of the loss in international revenues. Evidence from China suggests that the slowdown in short-haul travel had begun easing by mid-February, while long-distance travel continued to suffer. That trend is likely to be repeated in many other markets, pushed largely by travelers younger than 30, who may feel less at risk. To capitalize on that, Indonesia could begin marketing its lesser-known tourist attractions to a domestic audience.

Indonesia can use the slow down in international travel to improve its tourism infrastructure, such as airports, and standards within the hospitality industry.

Taking advantage of the disruption to accelerate improvements could help the country reach its goal of receiving 73.6 million foreign tourists annually by 2045, up from 15.8 million in 2018.

A problem with plastic trash in Indonesia is tarnishing the country’s international image. Bali, which witnessed a six-fold increase in tourism between 1996 and 2018, suffers particularly, with domestic and foreign tourists generating 34 times more waste than residents, per a National Geographic estimate. Initiatives to clean up the waste and increase recycling that were begun before the pandemic must be accelerated.

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. Learn more about Indonesia.

Be advised. Stay alert and always respect the local people. Please consult the Indonesian Government’s official COVID19 website for further details and check with your airline or transport operator if you are planning to travel domestically at any point.

Selamat jalan!

Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia

Learn where to go, what do and what to say. Experience more of Indonesia than the average traveler by speaking Indonesian. Simple courtesies and greetings will make your trip more productive and rewarding. Our phonetic style makes it impossible to mispronounce important words. Order your hard copyIndonesians will sparkle with delight when you speak just a few words in bahasa Indonesia. Watch our Indonesian tutorial.

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Author: Gary Chandler

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