The long wait is almost over! As the COVID travel restriction has been lifted in majority of countries, including Indonesia, now is the perfect time to start planning for your next Bali holiday. Here are some handy info to help you assess the current situation and make the best of your next tropical getaway.
Since its first confirmed case on March 2nd, Bali’s tourism sector has been significantly smashed, with several hospitality-based properties such as restaurant and five-star resorts are forced to close their business due to the rapid spreading of COVID 19 pandemic. But now, five months later, the dust began to settle down, as the island is once again ready to welcome the guest to its world-renowned tropical ambiance. But as the pandemic situation is not yet over and no official vaccine has been proven to work so far (regardless of what some of the news been telling us), Bali took a wise step to open their door slowly and gradually rather than rushing things about. Here are some of the current situation:
1. Yes for domestic, not (yet) for international
To answer one of the most questioned topic: since July 31st, Bali has reopened for domestic tourists ONLY, meaning the locals who come from other region of Indonesia. Deputy Bali governor Tjokorda Oka Artha confirmed that Bali’s administration has prepared for the tourism reopening for a long time with three-phase plan that has been implemented in term of welcoming all travelers to have a blissful vacation in the island. The first phase has started on July 9 when the administration began reopening local businesses and tourist spots for residents of Bali. The second phase has been carried out on July 31 by reopening for domestic tourists. The third phase, which is reopening the border for international tourists, is set to launch on Sept. 11, but it will still depend on the situation. “Once again I emphasize, this is just a plan, not a schedule that will definitely be implemented,” explained Bali Governor, I Wayan Koster. “Whether or not this is carried out will greatly depend on the situation and the dynamics of the development of Covid-19 in the field, especially local transmission in Bali.” he added. Prior to arriving in Bali, all visitors should also install the LOVEBALI application, which can be downloaded via the government’s official website (https://lovebali.baliprov.go.id). The app will be used as a platform for visitors to report problems or complaints during their time in Bali. Visitors are also encouraged to always activate their phone GPS while on the island. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, you will need more than visa or passport to enter Bali, as there are several health-based documents requirement for visitors. You can read the full list of the requirements HERE, be sure to prepare them properly!
2. ‘Travel Bubble’ and ‘Tourism Clusters’
Some efforts by the regional and central governments to speed up the recovery process are underway. The Coordinating Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs of Indonesia recently announced that the government is working on creating ‘travel bubbles’ with neighboring countries that will allow limited tourism and travel. Commenting on the move, Fransiska Handoko, government relations director of Bali Hotels Association, said: “Bali and Indonesia are ready for travel bubbles. However, the rest of the world still sees Indonesia as a high-risk country, so these plans are still in the discussion stage” she said. “It may be more logical to form travel bubbles within South-east Asia because of the shorter travel times. But we are still observing how the situation will evolve.” There has been some suggestion for Bali to start the ‘travel bubble’ with Australia due to the large Bali tourism market there, and allow them to be among the first to return to the island while keeping the border closed to other countries, but this has yet to be implemented so far.
Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry will also be implementing a Cleanliness, Health, and Safety (CHS) program across the archipelago’s top tourist destinations to welcome visitors after the coronavirus pandemic, with Bali set on becoming the project’s pilot location. Bali’s deputy governor Tjokorda Oka Arta Ardhana said the province planned to establish “tourism clusters”, which would be exclusive tourist zones in which high-level health protocols would be implemented, so that tourists could be welcomed back without the risk of spreading COVID-19 to locals.
3. Limited Destination
Understandably, even though the airport will eventually be open for visitors, not all tourism destinations in Bali will operate normally, as the new healthy standard and precaution has to be carefully implemented to ensure the health and safety of local and tourists alike. “Nightclubs are not allowed [to reopen] yet” said Bali’s deputy governor Tjokorda Putra Artha. “Bali [still] offers a lot [of other tourist destinations] like natural or cultural [tourist spots],” he stated. Tjokorda also ensures that Bali’s hotels and resorts were ready to organize business meetings and events as well. The Bali administration is currently cooperating with the Denpasar Indonesian Fine Arts Institute (ISI) to hold kecak and other traditional dance performances. They are trying to figure out ways to allow dancers to follow health protocols while performing the kecak dance, which traditionally involves dozens of performers.
4. Bali COVID Statistic
As of Friday, August 7th, Bali has recorded 3,644 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 3,168 recoveries and 48 fatalities. The recovery number has significantly increased, with additional death count since last July. This is certainly a fantastic news that will shed some optimism for the island’s recovery, especially in tourism sector. So keep your hope high, follow all healthy protocols, stays out of trouble and soon we will be able to enjoy the sunshine on one of Bali’s pristine beach once more. See you very soon, folks!