A travel corridor between South Korea and Bali has been proposed to the Indonesian government by Angkasa Pura I LTD which operates the Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport.
President Director of Angkasa Pura, I Faik Fahmi has said that he plans to run a program called the Safe Corridor Initiative (SCI) as a bilateral cooperation between I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport and Incheon Airport.
“We have already presented the idea to the Coordinator of Maritime and Investment Minister in Bali, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan and the Directorate General of Immigration as a tourism restart solution to the central government. They seemed quite optimistic about the idea” Fahmi said on Thursday Oct 1st 2020.
By implementing the SCI program through strict health and safety protocols, Fahmi believes that there will not be a potential for increased cases of COVID-19 in Bali from the incoming South Korean tourists.
The Development Director of Angkasa Pura, I Dendi T. Danianto has said that they will be implementing a program called the ‘3T’s’ which stands for tracking, tracing and treatment. All traveler movements would be tracked for potential contact tracing in the case of an imported infection.
Meanwhile, Inchoen Airport is preparing prevention protocols for the Korean tourists to assure the Indonesian Government that they’re free from virus.
“We will do a ground assessment with the team from Incheon to make sure that all the stakeholders in Bali are ready for this program” Dendi said.
If the program is a success, they’re very optimistic that they would open travel corridors with additional countries.
Dendi said they are waiting for approval from the Indonesian government to make an exception to the current ban on foreign nationals that would allow for the South Korean tourists to arrive in Bali. The proposed plan is scheduled to start at the end of October
“We planned to launch the program at the end of October while we’re waiting for the regulation from The Law and Human Rights Minister. “We can’t just sit back and do nothing anymore” Dendi concluded.
Bali has been closed to all foreign tourists since March when the Indonesian government halted all of its visa programs essentially locking the borders.
Initially the lockdown measures appeared to have worked as the number of COVID-19 cases in Bali stayed low for months.
Then when Bali reopened for domestic tourism to the rest of Indonesia on July 31st, cases began to surge. Bali has now recorded 7226 cases of COVID-19 resulting in 174 deaths since the pandemic began.
Originally the Bali Governor planned to reopen for international tourists on September 11th but was denied by the Indonesian government due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the risk of imported cases.
The government of Indonesia has so far held firm that Bali will remain closed until the end of 2020. As other countries in Asia with strict lockdowns have started to adopt travel corridors, there is still a chance Bali could see limited international tourists before the end of the year.
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