I want my jab, beach: Indonesian gov’t mulls vaccine tourism in Bali

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno (middle), supervising a vaccination drive in Uluwatu. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno (middle), supervising a vaccination drive in Uluwatu. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.

Indonesia is working on a plan to offer COVID jabs to tourists visiting Bali, a minister said, as international travel may not be feasible just yet amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country. 

At a press briefing yesterday, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno announced that the vaccine tourism plan was discussed in an internal meeting involving high-ranking government officials, including Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin and President Joko Widodo. 

“We want to push for more vaccination distributed at a massive scale. For that reason, we present a vaccine-based travel program. Bali has been chosen, because Bali is in dire need of tourists due to the deep economic contraction,” Sandiaga said, adding that Bali would serve as the pilot for the project before it’s expanded into other regions.

According to a statement, this particular vaccination drive will prioritize domestic tourists, though officials will also work on potentially offering vaccines to foreign tourists through independent schemes. Nothing’s quite fixed as of yet, and Sandiaga said the final plan (if it gets to that) will be launched together with Bali Governor Wayan Koster.

The minister said a plan to set up a travel corridor for international tourists is almost complete, but actually moving forward with it will depend on the latest COVID-19 situation. 

“So we have decided that once the situation improves we will finalize it, if not then we will readjust,” Sandiaga said.

Indonesia’s certainly not the first to consider promoting vaccine tourism, as countries like the Maldives and Russia are planning to roll out similar programs. 

Also Read ⁠— People working from Bali (not via the gov’t initiative) are driving up COVID numbers

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