Published on : Monday, August 24, 2020
The Indonesian island of Bali has decided to remain closed for international tourism until the end of 2020. It was recently announced by Governor Wayan Koster that Bali would not be able to welcome foreign tourists for the year. The move comes months after government officials announced that the island is set to welcome from September 11 after reopening for domestic tourists on July 31. However, Governor Koster said in his recent announcement that the September would not be possible due to the all the current factors that are of serious concern. The Indonesian government is also yet to provide a green signal for tourism reopening in Bali.
Koster mentioned that the decision of delaying the reopening of Bali until 2021 was undertaken after a discussion with Minister of Foreign Affairs in line with the Government of Indonesia. It has been notified in an official press statement from authorities that the situation in Indonesia is not yet conducive to allow foreign tourists to visit the country, including Bali. The regulation signed by the Minister of Law and Human Rights prohibiting foreigners from entering the country continues to remain in effect. Indonesia is also still considered to be in a red zone category prompting the government to ban entry of foreign tourists until the end of 2020. Although it also mentions that the island would be focussing on the domestic tourism industry for the year.
Governor Wayan Koster also informed that COVID-19 cases still increasing in the country and there is also a high death rate. He said that both the factors have made it impossible to open the country as originally planned for September 11. He also mentioned that as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, tourism reopening is highly important for Bali but the action requires very careful preparation and should not be rushed at any cost.
He stated that Bali must not fail in its efforts as it will have a negative impact on the image of Indonesia, including Bali in the eyes of the world, which could have counter-productive consequences for tourism recovery efforts. He also informed that the Provincial Government of Bali will optimize efforts to bring domestic tourists to Bali in order to restore tourism and the economy of the island until the end of 2020. The Governor has also urged the people of Bali to adhere to all health protocols and invited all parties to help control the situation together. He besides the government, commitment and shared responsibility from stakeholders, business actors and the community is also essential for handling the present situation.
Bali’s economy is largely dependent on tourism and especially international tourists. However, the sector has been battered the coronavirus pandemic with hotel occupancy rates dropping by up to 95%. The decision to keep the borders close will inevitably be a significant further blow for the large number of people dependent on jobs in tourism but maintaining the safety and security of guests and citizens is also been considered as a priority. The Indonesian government has also discussed with neighbouring countries about establishing so-called travel bubbles to allow limited tourism and travel in near future.