Bali’s tourism industry in search of a rise

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People wear face masks on the first day of the opening of trials for tourist attractions amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Badung, Bali, Indonesia on September 13. Photo: Reuters

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People wear face masks on the first day of the opening of trials for tourist attractions amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Badung, Bali, Indonesia on September 13. Photo: Reuters

Bali’s tourism industry is hoping for a recovery in business after Covid-19 social restrictions eased for the resort island on Monday, with the government starting to formulate plans to allow overseas travel to resume.

The country’s once thriving vacation spot has been eerily quiet amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Indonesia – one of the worst in Asia – with hotels, restaurants and beaches closed.

But cases in the Southeast Asian country have declined significantly over the past month after peaking in mid-July.

Senior government ministers said on Monday that restrictions would be lowered in Bali to allow some tourist destinations to open and cinemas to operate at 50% capacity.

Our hope is that the spread of the virus can be brought under control, so that we can achieve an 80-90% vaccination rate and then start opening up to international tourists, said Diah Anggraini, manager of Grand Inna Kuta Hotel. The response from local tourists has been very good so far, ”she said.

“We see that they are starting to have more confidence in themselves to travel.”

Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said this week his ministry was preparing plans to reopen to foreign tourists, although the schedule has not been finalized.

He recently flagged the possibility of applying the Thai “Phuket Sandbox” approach to Bali, which would allow a limited number of fully vaccinated foreign tourists from low-risk countries to travel without the need for quarantine.

Malaysia and Vietnam are also planning to open tourist havens for travel bubbles, especially on the islands of Langkawi and Phu Quoc.

Speaking at an online press conference on Tuesday, Sandiaga said tourist areas are expected to achieve vaccination rates of 70% before reopening, and also suggested regional collaboration to form a Phuket tourism “triangle” , Langkawi and Bali.

More than 66% of Bali’s people are fully vaccinated, according to data from the country’s health ministry. In Bali, residents whose livelihoods were affected during the pandemic are keen for the reopening to continue.

I hope the local government here can continue to negotiate with the central government to let Bali stay open, said 55-year-old Bali resident Made Danendra.

So that all my relatives, including my children, my brothers and sisters, can return to work.


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