Indonesia considers imitating ‘Phuket Sandbox’ for Bali reopening

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 may soon reopen to foreign travelers by adopting Thailand’s “Phuket Sandbox” scheme, the tourism minister said this week, in what appears to be Indonesia’s latest strategic plan to restart international tourism after a string of failed attempts. 

“We are learning from the Phuket Sandbox with its one focus of significantly reducing local transmissions in Phuket, and this can be applied in Bali later on,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno said, according to a report by Tempo.

The Phuket Sandbox refers to Thailand’s international tourism relaunch scheme, where fully vaccinated foreign travelers are essentially allowed to visit the country but must quarantine for 14 days within Phuket, before they are permitted to travel to other parts of Thailand.

Phuket’s popularity as a tourist destination puts it at a parallel with Bali, as both regions are desperately looking for ways to revive their devastated economy amid the pandemic. 

Just to be clear, there’s currently no concrete date on when this would happen. For the time being, it appears that officials are merely discussing the possibility. 

According to data from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), over 26,000 foreigners have landed in Phuket since the launch of the sandbox scheme on July 1. Eighty-three people, which amounts to about 0.3 percent, tested positive for the coronavirus within the sandbox.

Read more news and updates from Bali here

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