Bali’s international tourism reopening all but delayed, according to senior minister

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan. Photo: Ministry handout
Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan. Photo: Ministry handout

Most of us probably saw it coming already, but Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan has all but confirmed that the reopening of Bali to foreign tourists, which was previously slated for July or August of this year, has been delayed. 

The senior minister fielded a question on Bali’s reopening when he announced Java and Bali’s imminent enforcement of the tightened restrictions.

Related ⁠— Indonesia imposes Emergency PPKM to combat COVID-19 surge, and it’s the closest thing we’ve had to a lockdown

“In regards to Bali I think you can answer it yourself,” Luhut said during the press conference this afternoon. 

“There’s no way we can reopen with this Delta variant, so we’re not even thinking about that now. Right now we’re thinking about how to scale down [the COVID-19 crisis].”

President Joko Widodo’s government today announced the strictest restrictions the country has seen during the pandemic, named the Emergency Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (Emergency PPKM or PPKM Darurat in Indonesian), which is set to come into effect from July 3 to July 20, and may be extended upon further review. 

Bali, along with other provinces in Java, will be enforcing Emergency PPKM, which mandates only takeaway and delivery orders for restaurants, closure of malls and public facilities, as well as a full Work From Home (WFH) policy for all workers in non-essential sectors, among other restrictions. 

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno, who has been overseeing plans for Bali to reopen to international tourists, recently hinted at a delay. Nonetheless, hotel and tourism operators were still hopeful for a July reopening if it came with high vaccination rates and strict adherence to health precautions.

The government has not specified when it would be safe to reopen Bali to international tourists.

The province reported 311 new coronavirus cases today. This is the highest daily infection count since the daily infections rate rose to triple digits on June 19, after about a month of less than 100 new cases daily..

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