Bali wants to become COVID quarantine destination for foreign arrivals

File photo of a Balinese dancer. Photo: Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy
File photo of a Balinese dancer. Photo: Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy

Bali is hoping to fill the pandemic tourist void by becoming a quarantine destination for foreign travelers entering Indonesia, which an official said would benefit the local tourism industry. 

During a virtual event held yesterday, Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, or Cok Ace, said there has been great interest from foreign travelers to be in Bali while undergoing the quarantine process once they arrive in Indonesia. 

“After the quarantine process concludes, they can head to their destination like Jakarta or other regions,” Cok Ace said. 

Throughout most of the pandemic, the opposite has been true. Foreigners arriving in Indonesia have had to transit and undergo quarantine in Jakarta before going on to their eventual destinations, including Bali.

“This won’t have a significant [economic] impact, but let the foreign travelers come to Bali [for quarantine], so that there’s still some fire burning to keep the spirits up among tourism players,” the governor added.

Ganip Warsito, who heads the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said Indonesia’s COVID-19 Task Force will consider the suggestion. 

Indonesia is still banning most foreign arrivals amid implementation of the Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (PPKM) protocol. Few exemptions include holders of Diplomatic Visa and the Service Visa, as well as those with Temporary Stay Permit (KITAS) and the Permanent Stay Permit (KITAP). 

At the same time, global travel restrictions have hugely impacted Bali’s tourism-dependent economy. In the last year, more than 36,000 people fell under the poverty line.

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