Talks of opening up Bali to mass tourism have sprung up again recently as the province’s daily COVID-19 cases dropped in recent weeks, with Bali Governor Wayan Koster saying that there might soon be COVID-19 “green zones” on the island open to all travelers.
“[The Bali administration] along with the Health Ministry are formulating green zones, and these green zones are places where both domestic and foreign tourists will be allowed to visit,” Koster said at the launch of a drive-thru vaccination center in Nusa Dua yesterday.
The governor has yet to reveal more details about the plan.
Indonesian ministers have also brought up the potential plan recently, including Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan, who appears optimistic about declining coronavirus cases in Bali, while stressing that those who violate health protocols will be penalized.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno also previously said that some areas in Bali, such as Nusa Dua, Ubud, Kuta, and Nusa Penida, may be designated as green or COVID-19-free zones.
The Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) warned yesterday that reopening Bali to foreign tourism must only take place when the public health situation is truly under control.
Indef researcher Rusli Abdullah said Indonesia should implement the “double screening” method, whereby foreign travelers are required to present official COVID-19-free letters, while also subjecting them to more examination upon arrival in Bali.
Much of the discussion surrounding tourism in Indonesia amid the COVID-19 pandemic has largely focused on Bali, as it is one of the most affected regions and the country’s top tourist destination. Given the seemingly region-focused approach, it is unclear at this point what plans to reopen might entail. Meanwhile, officials have also brought up potential plans for a travel corridor arrangement with countries like China and South Korea in recent months.