Bali Tourism Re-opening Plan: Counting the Days wih Excitement


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Bali tourism has been challenged due to pandemic,

As a necessary step in boosting and promoting the island’s economy that has been going downhill these past couple of years, the government is concocting an idea called “Work from Bali,” in which state employees are going to get the opportunity to work remotely from Bali’s Nusa Dua area.

While some of the islanders worry about the health risk the program is going to bring, the rest of us are hopeful and excited to finally have the break we were desperately looking for. If this is what it takes to boost the sinking economy, then so be it. Hopefully, the vaccines we have taken, along with the strict health protocols, will prove themselves to be a great barrier between us and the wretched Corona Virus.

However, as the positive case numbers going sky-rocketingly high in West Java and the capital town Jakarta, the government is seemingly having doubts and second thoughts about the whole WFB and the island’s reopening plan. Some might agree that the plan might be a bad idea in regard of increasing health risk; though the money that will be coming along with the program is something that the locals can’t afford to decline. Hmm, dilemma, dilemma, dilemma.

The news about Bali tourism which will be opened to foreign tourists (tourists) blows back after President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) hinted at this when reviewing vaccination activities in Gianyar, Bali on Tuesday (16/3/2021).

In a video release that received on Tuesday, Jokowi said that Bali tourism would open around June-July 2021 if conditions and handling of the Covid-19 pandemic improved.

“So that all support. To be careful. It will be July (it will be opened),” he said in news, Tuesday (16/3/2021).

In line with Jokowi, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment (Menkomarves) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan also said the same thing in his written statement, Friday (26/3/2021).

In the statement, he claimed that the number of Covid-19 cases in Bali had decreased. He also opened up the possibility that the Island of the Gods tourism sector would reopen.

“The number of (Covid-19) cases in Bali in recent weeks has shown a decline. The decline occurred due to the implementation of a measured approach policy by taking into account two crucial factors,” said Luhut.

These factors are enabling economic activities to continue and enforcing the implementation of health protocols throughout Bali including at the village level.

Luhut added, before foreign tourists are allowed to vacation on the Island of the Gods, socialization regarding the regulation of tourism procedures in Bali needs to be carried out for them, namely the Penalty for Health Protocol.

“This regulation includes the initial stages of socialization and publication of health protocol practices, monitoring of health protocol practices, violations of health protocols, the first warning with the enactment of administrative penalties, and finally deportation,” he said.

Responses from tourism enterpreneurs

Chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) of Gianyar Regency, Pande Mahayana Adityawarman, said that he was shocked when he heard the news about the reopening of Bali tourism that was conveyed by Jokowi.

“If it was originally scheduled for September, we hope it can be opened at the beginning of the year but now next year, it is quite difficult for us,” he told, Tuesday (16/3/2021).

According to him, the Covid-19 pandemic that lasted for one year weighed on Bali’s tourism because of the lack of income. Moreover, industry players still have to pay for site maintenance and work wages.

Because the tourism sector is a source of income for the Balinese people, although there are still gardening and farming activities. They will also sell their crops to hotels and restaurants.

“If 90 percent of Balinese people have been vaccinated, it can be tried to trial the opening of an airport for international tourists while still enforcing the rules for handling Covid-19,” said Adit.

He gave an example, for example from visas and foreign tourists doing quarantine first. This at least opens the faucet for the entrance of Bali tourism. Indonesia can also follow the example of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which has welcomed foreign tourists since July 7, 2020.

In opening international tourism, they implement quite strict policies, including the requirements for a PCR test before departure and also a PCR test upon arrival.

According to information in, Thursday (18/2/2021), the cost of the PCR test upon arrival at the airport has been borne by the UAE government, one of which is at Ras Al Khaimah Airport.

According to Adit, a concept like the UAE can be applied first on the Island of the Gods in order to revive the tourism sector as the backbone of Bali’s economy.

Meanwhile, tourism observer and professor of tourism at Udayana University, I Gede Pitana, agreed that Bali would be reopened to foreign tourists.

“I agree that tourism in Bali should be revived, because Bali’s economic recovery can only be done through tourism,” he said quoting, Thursday (18/2/2021).

Even so, Pitana suggested the government to concentrate on domestic tourism first. Because, there are many obstacles if you hope for foreign tourists at this time, ranging from economic, physical, to political obstacles, unless the travel bubble program already exists.

The Response of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy and the Bali Tourism Office

Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy (Menparekraf) Sandiaga Uno responded to the opening of international flights at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Quoting, Tuesday (23/3/2021), he said that before foreign tourists were allowed to come here, the airport would go through a number of simulation stages first.

“Essentially we will continue to practice because we cannot immediately open in June-July. We must continue to have simulations and airport readiness must continue to be improved. There must be a trial, there must be a pilot project and there must be several stages,” he said.

In the simulation, his party will prepare a number of program plans so that all relevant parties are better prepared to welcome foreign tourists.

Then on Sunday (28/3/2021), the Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, Putu Astawa, gave his response about the reopening of Bali tourism to foreign tourists.

“I haven’t heard from the governor yet, but the president did signal that it would be opened in June-July 2021 if the Covid-19 had slowed down,” he said.

Currently, Putu’s party is making various efforts so that Bali is very ready to welcome back foreign tourists at the appointed time if this really happens.

One that is being carried out is the provision of CHSE certification to 975 tourism actors ranging from hotels, restaurants, transportation, to tourism objects by the Provincial Government (Pemprov) and Regency Government (Pemkab).

“From the central government, there are 800. But among the 800, there are those that overlap with those that have been given (provincial and district government). More than a thousand who were given the CHSE certification are ready (health protocols),” said Putu.

There is also a vaccination program for tourism actors in Bali which already has around 100,000 registrants, although only around 10,000 have been vaccinated.

“Vaccines are being delayed because they are not yet delivered smoothly from the center to us, still little by little. But for those in the Green Zone, it has been done,” he said.

The Green Zones in question are Ubud, Nusa Dua, and Sanur. The three have received 170,487 doses of vaccine with 47,045 doses given to Ubud, 87,715 to Nusa Dua, and 35,727 to Sanur since Monday (22/3/2021).

Regarding the concept of receiving foreign tourists, Putu said that this is a policy of the central government. However, he said that the conditions for foreign tourists to vacation in Bali would likely be the same as those in the Bali-China travel bubble.

“This is the central domain, Mr. Sandiaga. (Adjustments depend on) the targeted country, then how it is treated after being at the airport, how to apply for a visa. More or less the same, but there will be adjustments,” he said.

According to news, Monday (1/3/2021), it was stated that the requirements for foreign tourists arriving through the Bali-China travel corridor had to meet the requirements of being vaccinated, bring a negative Covid-19 certificate, and take another Covid-19 test in I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport.

If the result is negative, foreign tourists can stay at hotels that are in the travel bubble program. If they want to travel, they are only allowed in the Bali Green Zone.

Finalization of Safe Travel Corridor Arrangement

While conducting the Weekly Press Briefing at the Sapta Pesona Building, Jakarta, on Monday (29/3/2021), Sandiaga revealed the latest news that his party continues to enter the finalization stage in terms of preparation for the Safe Travel Corridor Arrangement.

“We continue to enter the finalization stage in terms of preparation for Safe Travel Corridor Arrangements in Bali, Batam and Bintan. In Bali, there are three areas, namely Nusa Dua, Sanur, and Ubud,” he said regarding welcoming back foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, the areas included in the Safe Travel Corridor Arrangement are areas classified as Green Zones.

In news on Thursday (18/3/2021), it was stated that the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy was collaborating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Kemenlu) in finalizing the travel corridor concept policy.

In addition, Sandiaga’s party has also held a virtual coordination meeting in early March 2021 with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yohanes Kristiarto Soeryo Legowo.

The meeting was also attended by several ambassadors from countries that are big markets for Indonesia, such as countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia.

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Travel corridor

Sandiaga said, later on, foreign tourists can only enter Bali through the Safe Travel Corridor Arrangement, which is still being negotiated and is in the finalization stage.

Even so, until now there has been no further information on which countries whose residents are allowed to vacation in Bali.

However, in news in February 2021, on Thursday (25/2/2021), the Deputy Governor of Bali, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana, revealed the plan for the Bali-China travel corridor program.

He conveyed this when he was a speaker in a webinar organized by Asita (Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies) entitled “When will Bali Open Border?”

“The target foreign tourists are Chinese tourists who we know that the country has managed to get out of the pandemic because of the successful vaccination program. So we brought them in,” he said.

Long term visa and travel corridor

In addition to initiating a travel corridor, Sandiaga said that currently his party is also working on a long-term visa program. Launching, Tuesday (30/3/2021), the program was carried out by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy and several related parties, including the Directorate General of Immigration.

“We hope that the long term visa will not only break the quality of tourists, in terms of visiting time, but also from the level of expenditure,” he said in the Weekly Press Briefing at the Sapta Pesona Building, Jakarta, Monday (29/3/2021).

The program is expected to encourage foreign tourists to invest in Indonesia because they are vacationing in the archipelago for a long time.

According to Sandiaga, the investment can be made to drive businesses or also create jobs for the people of Indonesia.

“There was only a report on the results of a coordination meeting with Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Pak Luhut a few days ago, the government fully supports the steps to grant long-term visas,” he explained.

Through a long-term visa, foreign tourists are only allowed to enter through existing travel corridors. Tourist destinations that are allowed to be visited are only destinations in the Safe Travel Corridor Arrangement.

Sandiaga said the tourist destinations that can be visited later are Ubud, Nusa Dua, and Sanur in Bali, as well as Nongsa Point and Lagoi in the Riau Islands.

What is.your opinion on the matter?

Is Bali fit enough for a tourism reopening? Will you feel safe with the arrival of many people upon the island? Or are you just plain happy to finally see Bali standing on its feet once again? Let us know what you think in the comment. Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy.