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  • Indonesia Reopening

    Indonesian officials look to Phuket sandbox amid tentative re-opening plans for Bali

    Tourism officials in Indonesia are monitoring the Phuket sandbox as they consider gradually re-opening Bali to foreign tourists. According to an AFP report, a final decision on re-opening the normally hugely popular island of Bali could happen today. However, the country’s tourism minister, Sandiaga Uno, says any re-opening will have to proceed with caution.

    “My recommendation is that we move cautiously. There are new variants lurking. We need to take baby steps.”

    Indonesia was struck by a new wave of infections from June as the Delta variant gripped the country, with Bali one of the first places ordered into lockdown. The island’s tourism sector, which would normally see over 6 million foreign tourists generating US$10 billion a year, has been decimated. Hotels in once-popular areas are shuttered, along with shops and other businesses that would normally serve tourists.

    However, as the number of new Covid-19 infections is now declining across Indonesia, there is some talk of re-opening Bali. Sandiaga has previously praised the Phuket sandbox concept, but it’s understood that if this is replicated on Bali, it will involve more restrictions. While sandbox tourists on Phuket can travel around the island freely, it’s likely that on Bali, tourists would be confined to areas categorised as “safe zones”. Currently, these are Nusa Dua, Ubud, and Sanur. Sandiaga has not forgotten the devastating impact of the Delta variant and continues to call for caution in any re-opening plans.

    “Suddenly, boom! Delta came in June and we were struggling to get it under control. We were just focusing on vaccinations and bringing down the number of cases.”
    Around 75% of Bali residents are now fully vaccinated and the downward trend in new infections has already given a boost to domestic tourism, with around 6,000 daily visitors from places like Jakarta and Surabaya. The manager of the island’s Six Senses resort is optimistic, saying occupancy this month has averaged around 14%, double that of last month, and future bookings show signs of further improvement next month.

    “We’re expecting more guests, thank god. Things are getting better.”

  • #2
    Indonesia shortens quarantine, to reopen to travellers from 18 countries

    Indonesia is reopening its border to allow arrivals from 18 countries and the mandatory quarantine period will be cut down from 8 days to 5. An official overseeing the country’s pandemic response did not specify which countries are included in Indonesia’s reopening plan. Indonesia’s borders have been gradually reopening and the airport on the tourist island Bali will resume international arrivals on Thursday.

    Bloomberg News reported that the coordinating minister for maritime and investment affairs, Luhut Panjaitan, who has been in charge of Indonesia’s pandemic response says visitors from 18 countries will begin being allowed into Indonesia, The countries are>
    • Saudi Arabia
    • South Korea
    • Liechtenstein
    • UAE
    • Kuwait
    • Bahrain
    • Qatar
    • New Zealand
    • Italy
    • China
    • Japan
    • France
    • Portugal
    • Sweden
    • Poland
    • Hungary
    • Norway
    • India
    Indonesia has been slowly but steadily reopening. Gyms and cinemas have opened up again, and Covid-19 infections and deaths are on a decline.

    Foreign visa applications were allowed to resume, and then this week Bali is opening up to tourists again. Entry is only permitted for visitors that are fully vaccinated, have insurance that covers Covid-19 and are coming from a country with a positivity rate of below 5%.

    Only 21% of the Indonesian population is fully vaccinated. Surveys are being conducted across 100 cities to try and identify the location of any Covid clusters. This data will be used so that authorities can create a more cohesive plan on how to stamp out further infections, while continuing to reopen the country.