Bali reopens to foreign travelers as COVID-19 surge subsides


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A beach vendor sets chairs as he waits for customers in Kuta beach in Bali, Indonesia, on Thursday. The Indonesian resort island of Bali welcomed international travelers to its shops and white-sand beaches for the first time in more than a year Thursday — if they’re vaccinated, test negative, hail from certain countries, quarantine and heed restrictions in public.

Firdia Lisnawati/AP


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Firdia Lisnawati/AP

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An airport worker marks queue line for the reopening of International Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, Indonesia, Thursday.

Firdia Lisnawati/AP


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Firdia Lisnawati/AP

An airport worker marks queue line for the reopening of International Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, Indonesia, Thursday.

Firdia Lisnawati/AP

The July surge, fueled by the delta variant, again totally emptied the island’s normally bustling beaches and streets. Authorities restricted public activities, closed the airport and shuttered all shops, bars, sit-down restaurants, tourist attraction spots and many other places on the island. It reopened to domestic travelers in August.

Sang Putu Wibawa, the general manager at Bali’s Tandjung Sari Hotel, said only two of its 40 rooms were occupied on average and he hoped the reopening would help the occupancy rate back to normal.

«We have been waiting for this moment for so long,» he said. «This outbreak has hammered the local economy … we are very excited to welcome foreign guests by observing health protocols.»

Widodo said deciding to reopen Bali was based on its high vaccination rate as well as wanting to revive its economy. He said more than 80% of the Bali population has been fully vaccinated.

«Based on this situation, I am optimistic and we have decided to reopen international flights to Bali,» Widodo wrote in his official Instagram on Saturday.

Overall, 59.4 million of Indonesia’s 270 million people are fully vaccinated and another 43.2 million are partially vaccinated. Indonesia has confirmed more than 4.2 million cases and 142,811 deaths from COVID-19, the most in Southeast Asia.

Tourists from 19 countries are now able to visit the Bali and Riau islands provinces — Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, and Norway.

The tight timing is one reasons tourists were not immediately arriving, said Putu Astawa, head of the Bali Tourism Office

Airlines need time to schedule flights to Bali, while tourists need time to arrange travel documents such as tickets, insurance and virus tests as well as their five-day quarantine accommodations.

He predicted new visitors would start coming in early November.

  • COVID 19
  • Bali
  • Indonesia
  • tourism

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