Bali postpones reopening its doors to international tourists

Back in July 2020, Bali authorities announced that the island planned on welcoming international tourists starting from 11th September – to mixed responses. These were because while Bali relies on tourism, many have expressed concerns regarding the health risks of travel.

However, recent developments have called for a postponement of Bali’s tourism reopening date – possibly until the end of the year. The decision was made in order to match the Indonesian government’s ban on foreign travel for Indonesian citizens.

Foreign tourists won’t be able to enter Bali for the time being

Bali postpones plans to reopen - COVID-19 updates as of 24 August 2020
Indonesian COVID-19 updates as of 24th August 2020
Image adapted from: Indonesian COVID-19 Task Force

As of 24th August 2020, Bali has reported a total of 4,576 COVID-19 cases. While this number is far lower than the figures in hotspots such as East Java, Jakarta, and Central Java, it is still a cause for concern as Indonesia is still in the deep trenches of the pandemic.

As reported by The Jakarta Post, Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster announced that in order to prevent further spread of the virus, plans to welcome international tourists will most likely be postponed until the end of this year. 

Bali postpones plans to reopen - ubud
The Tegalalang rice terraces in Ubud – heavily visited by tourists before the pandemic
Image credit: Wibi Wibisono

He added that despite the negative effect that the pandemic has had on the tourism industry, decisions should be made with careful consideration. Until the situation improves, Governor Wayan noted that the island will concentrate on domestic tourists to restart its local economy.

The temporary ban on tourists does not apply to foreign residents

Bali postpones plans to reopen - regulation 1
Image credit: Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

It should be noted that the current international tourist regulation does not apply to foreign nationals who have a valid temporary (KITAS) or permanent (KITAP) residence permit. Those who hold diplomatic permits, are working in medical, humanitarian, and transportation fields, as well as people involved in large-scale national projects are also exempt from the regulation.

The temporary ban applies to international tourists, with no end date at the time of writing.

Bali postpones plans to reopen - Regulation 2
Image credit: Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

There are seven access points for foreign nationals: Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (Jakarta), Ngurah Rai International Airport (Bali), Juanda International Airport (Surabaya), Kualanamu International Airport (Medan), Hang Nadim International Airport (Batam), Batam Centre International Port (Batam), and Citra Tritunas International Port (Batam). 

These points are stated within Regulation Number 11 issued by Indonesia’s Ministry of Law and Human Rights. 

Bali prioritizes domestic tourism and adhering to health protocols

Bali postpones plans to reopen - Man surfing
Image credit: @dhanisiden

Bali’s beaches and beautiful scenery are understandably hard to resist, but health is still of utmost importance and authorities don’t want to take any chances. It is still important to adhere to health and hygiene protocols – such as practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and frequent hand sanitization – at the beaches and hotels that have reopened.

As of August 14, The Jakarta Post cited that up to 2,500 domestic tourists have entered Bali – meaning that the island is getting a surge of visitors. That’s good news for the local economy, but according to Kompas, Governor Wayan warned that Bali will have to return to close the island to all tourists if the number of confirmed cases spike again. This is why health and hygiene protocols should not be taken lightly.

It’s better to be safe than sorry

Until COVID-19 eases up, it’s better to stay on the safe side. Domestic tourists who plan on heading to Bali should not let their guards down and stick to the health and hygiene measures that are already in place. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we can travel with ease.

More Bali news:

Cover image adapted from: @thetoothsomesoul

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