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Indonesian Government Preparing Bali For International Tourists

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For both backpackers and luxury-orientated travelers, it truly doesn’t get much better than Bali. A slice of paradise noted for its stunning landscapes, perfect beaches and impressive temples, Bali is loved the world over and is a must-visit spot in Southeast Asia. Since the start of the pandemic, the island has been reeling from the lack of tourists, with livelihoods shattered and many businesses shuttered temporarily or closed indefinitely. However, this might not be the case for much longer. The Indonesian government is hard at work putting a plan together that could see tourism in Bali pick up the pace sooner rather than later.

traveler mask tropical covid bali

Are Travelers Still Heading To Bali?

Prior to the pandemic, Bali was a popular spot for international travelers with 6.3 million making their way to the province in 2019, which represented a growth on the previous year’s figures. However, this year’s statistics make for grim reading.

bali airport plane runway

In September, only 83 foreign tourists entered Bali, which represented a 99.986% drop on the number of foreign tourists arriving in September 2019. At present, entry to Indonesia is still banned for travelers from abroad, with exceptions made for those with residence permits or visas such as business visas, so the figures are likely to remain on the low side for the rest of 2020.

Will Bali Be Open To International Travelers Any Time Soon?

Whilst at one point travel to Bali looked a sure thing, it’s unlikely that foreign travelers will be unable to enter until next year. Bali had originally planned to open its borders to international travelers from 11th September. However, this plan was shelved following a rise in cases around the world and Indonesia. Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster announced in August that foreign travelers will be unable to enter Indonesia for the remainder of 2020 due to it being unsafe to travel, with exceptions being made dependent on status and visa type.

However, a delegation from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) had other ideas. Following an on-site assessment of the implementation of Bali’s health and safety protocols, Harry Hwang – the UNWTO’s Asia Pacific Director – was impressed with what he saw. Hwang said that Bali was ready for tourism, and wouldn’t be surprised if the government announced that it was open to international travelers before Christmas.

Whilst it remains unlikely that Bali is to open its borders fully before Christmas, the UNWTO’s words suggest that the opening is not too far away.

Bali bar

What Bali Is Doing To Get Ready For International Travelers

With tourist to Bali proving to be invaluable for the local and national economy, the government is working hard to get ready for international travelers.

bali tourist

The government’s meeting with the UNWTO involved nearly 200 officials, and they discussed health procedures and immigration protocols needed to re-open Bali safely. The press release by the UNWTO said that the government of Indonesia is considering a phased re-entry to Bali, and explicitly noted the need to be tested prior to arrival and upon arrival, and a health certificate system for tourist destinations in Bali, as two measures that may be implemented.


Recently, the Indonesian government announced that domestic travelers arriving in Bali by air must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result. Bali’s deputy governor stated that this was because they planned to re-open Bali to foreign tourism in the first quarter of 2021, and this was largely contingent on keeping cases numbers on the island down.


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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


Tuesday 9th of February 2021

A very helpful article! I want to say that it is very dangerous to travel now. Unfortunately for me, I had an insured event in Bali. I slipped and fell on a stone and hit my head. I had a travel insurance with myself, so the company paid everything to EKTA travel insurance, I recommend this company to everyone.


Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

It seemed that the alcohol ban has never taken off in Indonesia. It was all hot air and nothing to be pursued furthermore. Nonetheless it caused some anxiety in some travelers’ mind and took Bali off the bucket list altogether. A few travelers in the West whom I know has hinted to score with one another with the most countries visited on their bucket list. Traveling is about learning deeper of the culture, language and history and how it’s government operates respectively can bring more of an appreciation and mutual respect.

The ten stereotypes by outsiders about Indonesia for example is mind boggling. They make the naive assumption that because it's popular it must be true. It is not necessary to list them all on here. However some most important facts to be learned: Indonesia is the 4th largest democratic country in the world. Indonesia is NOT an Islamic country. It has the largest Muslim population. The constitution guaranteed 6 religions to be practiced accordingly. Islam as the most practiced was not spread by Arabs but rather by Chinese and Indian Muslim scholars and traders. However the culture of Indonesia can still be seen through the arts, language and way of life from previous Hinduism, Buddhism and Animism respective aspects in their daily lives no matter which island or province an Indonesian may come from. Indonesians strongly believe in “Unity in Diversity” which is also enshrined in their constitution.

Besides Sumatra, Bali and Java, other islands worth to be explored such as Lombok, Sumba and Sumbawa. The Komodo national park and Raja Ampat in West Papua are on my bucket list.