Let’s add more countries to VOA list, Bali’s tourism association says

Photo: Unsplash/Cassie Gallegos.
Photo: Unsplash/Cassie Gallegos.

As more and more sun-seekers are flocking to the Island of Gods in the past few months, Bali’s hotels and restaurants’ association has suggested the government to expand the visa on arrival (VOA) eligibility list, which now stands at 72 nationalities, back to its pre-pandemic number.

The Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) via its deputy I Gusti Ngurah Rai Suryawijaya said today that tourism businesses are expecting an immediate return to the island’s heyday.

“The more [countries on the VOA list,] the merrier. And we hope that it can go back like in the beginning, with 168 nationalities [eligible for VOA],” said Suryawijaya.

Bali’s PHRI said the island is seeing an increase of up to 50 percent in the number of tourist arrivals this year compared to the same period in 2019 – before the pandemic. 

Currently, 72 nationalities are eligible for VOA entry to Indonesia. The VOA program was suspended since the onset of the pandemic, but it had been reactivated since Bali reopened to international tourism late last year. The list of eligible nationalities is sporadically updated.

Separately, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said the island’s tourist spike has not negatively influenced COVID-19 management on the island. Citing official data, he said that as of Monday, the average reported cases per day remained between 15 to 30 people.

Koster added that in May alone, 539 international flights operated by 19 different airlines arrived in Bali, carrying 129,920 passengers. That averaged to 4,191 international arrivals per day.

From June 1 to June 13, that average has risen to 5,905 people.

“If we look at the average per day of international visitors from May to the middle of June, the increase is 41 percent,” he said.

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