Are you hoping for a Bali return this month? Due to a recent rise in cases, the island won't reopen for foreign tourists as initially planned. To welcome foreigners back into Indonesia, the final plan may not only require proof of vaccination but will be limited to a few countries later in 2021.
Bali Reopening Plan Deferred Until September Due to Surge in Cases, Limited Vaccine Progress
Over a year has passed since Bali, Indonesia's tourism-dependent island, was closed to tourists. New variants of the virus have thwarted plans to reopen various parts of Bali over the past year. Although Bali has managed the COVID-19 pandemic very well, it faces a challenging task: the economy will continue to be affected if there are no effective mass vaccinations.
While Bali is making progress in its vaccination efforts the majority of residents are still not fully vaccinated. To reopen, Bali is targeting 70% vaccination rates. 71% of islanders have received their first dose. However, efforts to fully vaccinate all residents have been hampered by a recent increase in cases. In terms of vaccine distribution, Indonesia has given Bali priority. It has secured more than four million doses each of the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines. More will be added. Only 11% of Indonesians are fully vaccinated.
Last month, Sandiaga Uno was the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Economy in Indonesia.
We had intended to target the end of July or beginning of August. However, we have to be aware of where we stand in light of this recent spike in cases. We'll wait for conditions to improve.
The opening of Bali was delayed in August because of a fourfold increase in COVID-19-related cases. Daily cases now total around 200. Uno would like daily cases to fall to between 30-40 before Bali reopens.
Wayan Koster (the governor of Bali) laid out plans in March for a safe zone within Bali. This would allow the island's reopening to tourism in areas with lower risk.
The impracticality of closing certain areas and opening others has led to vaccinations being emphasized as well as travel bubbles.
The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy had announced in June that all of Indonesia would be reopened to tourism at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Nia Niscaya, Deputy Minister for Tourism Marketing, noted:
Participating in ATM Dubai 2021 is a great way to show that Indonesia is still a top destination.
The nation's tourism engines will be boosted by the addition of destinations like Bali, Bintan and Batam. However, due to the recent increase in cases, this re-opening could take months.
It is unclear whether Indonesian travelers must be vaccinated, or if they can simply pass the COVID-19 test.
The nation is reeling from an increase in COVID-19-related deaths. A record 2,069 people died on July 27th. Reopening could be linked to national vaccine progress and not just vaccinations within Bali. New cases are now declining after a peak in July, but the positivity rate is still high.
Bali Travel Corridors
Recently, Sandiaga Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, noted that there are three criteria Bali must meet in order to establish travel corridors between different countries. These countries must:
Stop the spread of coronavirus
High vaccination rates
Offer reciprocal benefits
The Australian border is now closed to Australian citizens until at least mid-2022. This means that China has become the primary focus. Cok Ace, Deputy Governor of Bali noted:
China can still be a source of hope, both in terms of numbers and quality, since they have contributed a lot of visitors to the country in the past.
China was second in terms of foreign visitors to Australia.
According to The Jakarta Post, Indonesia held private talks with these countries about creating travel corridors.
Also, talks are ongoing with China and Singapore.
Both Australia and the United States are notable absentees from this list. Australia and the United States are not currently permitted to travel to Australia from Australia.
As soon as Bali reaches its vaccination targets, and the case numbers continue to decline, I believe Bali will be re-opened to all vaccinated people by 2021. Many livelihoods in Indonesia are dependent on international tourism. Don't book yetre-opening won't occur until case numbers fall.
> Continue reading: Bali Considers Green Zone for International Tourists