Bali sees gradual increase in domestic tourist arrivals following reopening

A passenger wearing a face mask at Ngurah Rai International Airport. Photo: Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry’s Public Communications Bureau
A passenger wearing a face mask at Ngurah Rai International Airport. Photo: Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry’s Public Communications Bureau

Domestic tourists are trickling back to Bali with authorities recording a gradual increase in arrivals at Ngurah Rai International Airport as the island reopens its doors to domestic tourism.

In a ceremony to mark the official reopening, 84 passengers flying Garuda Indonesia from Jakarta received flower garlands from Bali Vice Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, popularly known as Cok Ace, on Friday morning. They were the first of approximately 4,000 domestic tourists to arrive on the island that day.

Airport management firm Angkasa Pura I spokesman Rahmat Adil Indrawan said on Saturday that there was a gradual increase of passengers during the Eid al-Adha long weekend compared to previous weeks.

Arrivals have also been increasing in the lead up to the reopening. From July 26-30, officials said Ngurah Rai Airport served 17,757 domestic passengers on 278 flights. This represents a 17 percent increase from the week of July 19-23, when 15,153 passengers on 256 flights were recorded to have arrived at Ngurah Rai.

“For the movement of domestic route passengers, slowly but surely we are seeing a good increase. [In July] up to July 30, we served 73,875 passengers with a daily average of 2,463 passengers,” Rahmat said.

There were 17,861 domestic arrivals for the whole month of June.

“We emphasize once again, we always strictly enforce the health protocols despite the growth in the number of passengers we serve.”

Indonesia closed its borders back in April, following global travel restrictions imposed to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. While the island has reopened for domestic tourists, officials said tentative plans are in place to reopen to foreign tourists on Sept. 11. 

Despite brewing optimism from the Indonesian government to finally restart tourism on the island after months of relative inactivity, many hotel owners on the island appear to have mixed views about the plan, especially regarding the financial means to restart their businesses.

In mid-July, a number of prominent Indonesian influencers have begun sharing their travel experiences amid pandemic in Bali, in what appears to be a social media campaign promoting the so-called “new traveling habits.”

Bali recorded 40 additional COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the provincial total to 3,488. The highest number of cases have been recorded in Denpasar city at 1,357.

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