Foreign tourists are choosing Thailand over Bali, tourism association says

Tourism service providers say international tourists are choosing Thailand over Bali because the former is waiving mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers, offering an explanation for the dearth of foreigners in Pulau Dewata despite it having reopened for a month. 

Ida Bagus Gede Sidharta, who heads the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) in Denpasar, said foreign tourists have been choosing Thailand because the country doesn’t require quarantine for tourists. 

“Right now, many are choosing Thailand. Because Thailand doesn’t mandate quarantine,” Sidharta said. 

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As of Sunday, no international flights have landed at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport since it reopened to foreign tourists on Oct. 14, a spokesman from airport management firm Angkasa Pura I said. 

Last month, Governor Wayan Koster claimed that more than 20,000 foreign tourists have booked their Bali hotel rooms for this month, hinting at an optimistic outlook for the local tourism industry. However, the Indonesian Association of Tours and Travel (ASITA) stressed that bookings don’t mean much because they can be canceled at any time. 

“If you want those bookings to be realized, the rules that are implemented must be clear,” ASITA regional head Putu Winastra said. 

For the time being, only fully vaccinated travelers from eligible countries identified by the Indonesian government are permitted entry via Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport, and they are subject to a three-day quarantine period at their own expense. Meanwhile, those who have only gotten their first jab are required to undergo a five-day quarantine.

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