Bali plans to reopen borders for tourism in September

Passengers wear masks in the arrival hall of Bali's Denpasar airport. CREDIT: AMILIA ROSA. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA, Jun 19, 2020, Jakarta Globe. Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said rebuilding tourist confidence will be key for Bali – Indonesia’s number one tourist island – to recover its economy to pre-pandemic levels, Jakarta Globe reported.

The minister said on Wednesday during a two-day visit to the Island of the Gods that he appreciated the provincial government’s recent effort to plan phased reopening of the island starting from July.

“Public trust must be earned by preparing and implementing strict health protocols according to new normal guidelines before reopening the tourism sector,” Wishnutama said after a meeting with Bali Governor Wayan Koster in Ubud, Gianyar, on Wednesday.

The minister inspected several popular tourist destinations while on the island, such as Nusa Dua, Tirta Empul Temple and Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park.

Wishnutama gave his support to the Bali provincial government to prepare the three stages needed to reopen the island for business.

“Local governments must prepare thoroughly before reopening the tourism and creative economy sectors. There’s no need to rush. Tourism is highly dependent on tourists’ trust in security and comfort on the island,” he said.

The Bali governor said the provincial government has already prepared the three stages for implementing the new normal health protocol.

“If everything goes according to plan, on July 9 we will start the first stage of reopening several sectors except education and tourism,” Koster said.

In the second stage beginning in August, the island will start welcoming domestic tourists. But this will only happen if the first stage was an unqualified success.

In the third stage in September, Bali will reopen its borders to international tourists.

Koster stressed this is still a plan not a set timeline for implementation.

“Whether or not it will happen will greatly depend on our discipline to implement the health protocol and how local transmissions of Covid-19 in Bali are developing,” he said.

The governor said there had been an increase in Covid-19 cases in Bali recently, especially in Denpasar, Badung, Gianyar and Klungkung.

On Wednesday, Bali reported 30 new confirmed Covid-19 cases, bringing the island’s total to 829.

“We’ve sent a special team to the areas where there’s been an increase in Covid-19 cases. We will make sure there are no more new cases before relaxing more social restrictions,” Koster said.

The governor also said that according to various surveys, Bali has been ranked among the top tourist destinations in the world that tourists want to revisit once the pandemic is over.

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