The Indonesian government is planning to reopen Bali to international tourists later this month, following a series of ministerial meetings held last week and during the weekend. The latest news is that the island is expected to welcome back foreign arrivals around the middle of October, as Indonesia launches its new-look, sustainable tourism sector for post-pandemic travel.
“We want nature and culture-based tourism,” said Sandiaga Uno, who is Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy and the Head of Tourism and Creative Economy Agency, when asked about the future of tourism in Bali and beyond. “Sustainable tourism will become the latest trend of post-pandemic Indonesian tourism, [so the industry] must prepare special interest tourism packages, cultural tourism [and] tourist villages; and this is what we are aiming for in the future to achieve sustainable tourism,” he said.
To put this plan into action, government officials and stakeholders have been discussing how to ensure a swift and safe revival nationwide, with the initial phase of reopening focused on Bali. In a bid to speed up this process, Sandiaga Uno held a series of meetings last week and over the weekend, the results of which have been submitted for approval to Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. “The conditions for reopening and the preparation steps have entered the final stage,” explained Luhut in a recent statement. “We will prepare everything during October 2021,” he added.
These preparations are already underway, as the island is divided into designated ‘green zones’, where tourism can safely operate. Although the whole island is expected to eventually be made available for travel, it is also likely that the initial reopening will focus on the pilot locations that have already been prepared for the safe return of international tourists. These destinations include three of Bali’s most popular: Sanur, Ubud and Nusa Dua.
The Deputy Governor of Bali, Cok Ace, has confirmed that Covid-19 is well under control on the island, and the government continues to monitor the situation closely. His department is working on various contingency plans to ensure that the reopening goes ahead and that returning travellers are kept safe.
“There are several plans (related to whether or not we can open Bali in the near future,” explained the Deputy Governor in a recent statement. “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 added.
Countries eligible to visit Bali under the new reopening plan have not yet been confirmed, but should be finalised soon. Indonesia is expected to follow the example of regional neighbours, by initially welcoming back international travellers from destinations where Covid-19 is firmly under control. For the time being, it looks as though Bali will soon be back in business.