Bali may be quarantine-free travel option for Singaporeans: Luhut

Indonesia’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan in Feb. 2021. Photo: Humas Kemenko Marves
Indonesia’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan in Feb. 2021. Photo: Humas Kemenko Marves

Indonesia may include Bali in a travel bubble established with Singapore, the government said, and is calling for airlines to connect the two islands directly.

The government announced yesterday that it has opened a travel corridor that allows fully-vaccinated Singaporeans to visit nearby Indonesian islands Batam and Bintan without undergoing quarantine. Singaporeans traveling to the two islands must also present negative COVID-19 test results taken prior to departure.

Indonesians from Batam and Bintan seeking to travel to Singapore must still follow the latter’s COVID-19 rules and regulations.

Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who oversees Indonesia’s COVID-19 handling, yesterday said the government is hoping that a similar travel scheme is established between Singapore and Bali to boost the holiday island’s tourism industry.

“I have spoken with Transportation Minister [Budi Karya Sumadi], we want the addition of direct flights from Singapore to Bali,” the top minister said.

“[If the scheme launches] we will evaluate it weekly, and if it’s not beneficial we will stop it.”

Bali’s international tourism relaunch has been anti-climactic since program launched in October 2021. In fact, an official said that not one commercial international flight landed at Ngurah Rai Airport in the three months since Bali reopened to international tourists.

Prior to the reopening, the island only saw 45 international tourists arriving in the first 10 months of 2021.

Tourism operators have lamented Indonesia’s strict travel restrictions and have called for exceptions to be made for Bali’s tourists.

Bali welcomed 6 million tourists in 2019. The island, which is almost entirely reliant on the tourism industry, came to a standstill when the pandemic hit.

Things began looking up towards the end of 2021, with domestic tourists arriving in large numbers to give the island’s economy a lifeline.

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