Bali’s tourism industry is hoping for an uptick in business after Covid-19 social restrictions were eased for the resort island on Monday (Sept 13), with the govt starting to formulate plans to permit foreign visit resume.
The country’s once thriving holiday hotspot has been eerily quiet amid Indonesia’s Covid-19 outbreak – one among the worst in Asia – with hotels, restaurants and beaches shuttered.
But cases within the South-East Asian country have declined significantly within the past month after peaking in mid-July.
Senior government ministers said on Monday restrictions would be downgraded in Bali to permit for a few tourist destinations to be opened and cinemas to work at 50 per cent capacity.
“Our hope is that the virus spread are often kept in check , in order that we will reach an 80 per cent to 90 per cent vaccination rate then we will start to open for international tourists,” said Diah Anggraini, manager of the Grand Inna Kuta Hotel.
“The response from local tourists has been excellent thus far ,” she said. “We see they’re beginning to have more confidence about travelling.”
Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said in the week his ministry was drafting plans for reopening to foreign tourists, although the timing has not been finalised.
He recently flagged possibly applying Thailand’s “Phuket Sandbox” approach to Bali, which might allow a limited number of fully vaccinated foreign tourists from low-risk countries to go to without the necessity to quarantine.
Malaysia and Vietnam also are watching opening up tourist havens to travel bubbles, including on the islands of Langkawi and Phu Quoc.
Speaking at a web news conference on Tuesday (Sept 14), Sandiaga said tourism areas should reach vaccination rates of 70 percent before reopening, and also suggested regional collaboration to make a Phuket, Langkawi, and Bali tourism “triangle”.
More than 66 percent of individuals on Bali are fully vaccinated, consistent with data from the country’s health ministry.
On Bali, locals whose livelihoods have taken successful during the pandemic are keen for the reopening to travel ahead.
“I hope the government here can keep negotiating with the central government to let Bali stay open,” said 55-year-old Bali resident Made Danendra.
“So that each one of my relatives including my kids, brothers, and sisters can return to figure .”