Quarantine hotels and direct flights: Bali gears up for international tourism re-relaunch this week

File photo of travelers at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali. Photo: Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy
File photo of travelers at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali. Photo: Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy

Bali officially reopened its doors to international tourists in October 2021, but the relaunch is set to begin in earnest this week with a push from the central government.

On Monday, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan announced that Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport is set to serve direct international flights starting Friday, Feb. 4, in a bid to boost the island’s tourism-reliant economy.

Luhut said that Bali can expect foreign tourists to start trickling back to the island this month. Previously, Singapore Airlines said it will resume daily direct flights from the Little Red Dot to Bali in mid-February, while Indonesia’s flag carrier Garuda Indonesia is resuming flights between Tokyo’s Narita Airport and Bali this week.

Starting Feb. 4, the government said tourists from any country can come to Bali using an e-visa. For the October 2021 international tourism relaunch, only tourists from 19 countries, including New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and Japan but excluding, most notably, Australia and Singapore, were allowed entry to Bali.

There will be no Bali-specific concession regarding mandatory quarantine to begin with, as foreign tourists are still expected to undergo five days of hotel quarantine if they’re fully-vaccinated, and seven days if they’re partially vaccinated.

Related — Despite rising COVID-19 cases, Indonesia shortens mandatory quarantine from 7 days to 5

Bali tourism officials say five hotels are ready to take on quarantining tourists, namely the Grand Hyatt and Westin Resort in Nusa Dua, the Royal Tulip in Jimbaran, the Griya Santrian in Denpasar, and the Viceroy in Ubud.

A quarantine package can go up to IDR12 million (US$836.88) per person, which includes three meals daily, laundry service, and PCR tests. However, the current prices were set for seven days of quarantine, and may be revised down in light of the central government recently reducing mandatory quarantine to five days.

Bali’s international tourism relaunch has been anti-climactic since the program launched in October 2021. In fact, an official said that not one commercial international flight landed at Ngurah Rai Airport in the three months since Bali reopened to international tourists.

Prior to the reopening, the island only saw 45 international tourists arriving in the first 10 months of 2021.

Tourism operators have lamented Indonesia’s strict travel restrictions and have called for exceptions to be made for Bali’s tourists.

Bali welcomed 6 million tourists in 2019. The island, which is almost entirely reliant on the tourism industry, came to a standstill when the pandemic hit.

Things began looking up towards the end of 2021, with domestic tourists arriving in large numbers to give the island’s economy a lifeline.

Also read — Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno helps tourists overcome alleged false PCR test positives from Jakarta hotel

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