Bali delays reopening the country for vaccinated tourists because of growing cases of COVID-19.
Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno suggested Bali would reopen in July 2021 to vaccinated tourists. Unfortunately, because of growing COVID-19 cases on the popular island, the government has pushed this back for the foreseeable future.
Uno stated, “We are targeting the end of July, beginning of August, but we just have to be mindful of where we are in this recent spike. We will be waiting for the situation to become more conductive.”
The Current Situation In Bali
Bali has around 200 cases per day. The tourism minister wants to bring cases down to about 30 to 40 cases per day before reopening. The Red Cross has warned that Indonesia is “on the edge of catastrophe” because of a rapid rise in COVID-19.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) said Indonesia needs a rapid increase in testing, vaccinations, and medical care to deal with the rising cases. The new variant is overwhelming hospitals in Jakarta, and the limited oxygen supply is being tested.
The head of the IFRC stated, “We need lightning-fast action globally so that countries like Indonesia have access to vaccines to avert tens of thousands of deaths.” Unfortunately, vaccination levels remain low throughout the country. Indonesia has only fully vaccinated around 5 percent of its population. That equates to around 13.1 million people, which is barely over the population of Jakarta.
The Balinese government has vaccinated 71% of its population so far. The Indonesian government prioritized Bali as a vaccination hub because of its economic significance. Over 6.3 million international tourists entered Bali in 2019, adding a significant amount of GDP to the Indonesian economy.
Tourist attractions and Bali’s most popular beaches remain open. Department stores, restaurants, and malls stay open but with limited capacity and opening hours. There is a curfew on places opening after 10 pm, and strict mask-wearing policies and social distancing laws are in place.
The Current Entry Requirements
Bali is heavily reliant on the tourism industry. Therefore, the island has briefly opened to some – albeit very few – visitors in the pandemic with restrictions. On the other hand, the majority of Southeast Asia has remained closed for non-nationals and non-essential travel.
Indonesia has ceased international tourism travel since the pandemic began. The government has banned tourists from visiting Bali, but the country allows the following people to enter Bali:
- Indonesian nationals
- Passengers with a Permanent Stay Permit or a Temporary Stay Permit.
- Some passengers that have a temporary residence visa
- Passengers with a diplomatic service visa
- Passengers traveling under the TCA agreement
Some digital nomads have found ways to get into the country. Still, for the most part, the authorities have shut the island, and Bali continues to suffer dire economic consequences.
The Economic Situation
The dire economic consequences of Bali’s border closure are pushing Indonesia towards opening the island ASAP. There have been rumors and speculation since the summer of 2020 that the island would fully reopen. However, every time the island comes close to reopening, they push the date back because of rising cases.
Domestic travel in Bali has remained open throughout the pandemic, but that hasn’t replaced the loss of income through foreign tourists. The pandemic has affected over 94% of the Balinese workforce, and the pandemic forced 28% of businesses to close.
The Delta variant is causing severe problems for Bali. The island needs to reopen this year, or thousands of businesses will go under. If Bali wants to get cases down to 30 to 40 per day before it opens, it could be many months longer before Bali reopens its borders.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories