Tourism Minister, Bali governor push to reactivate visa on arrivals for int’l visitors

Bali Governor Wayan Koster. Photo: Bali Provincial Government
Bali Governor Wayan Koster. Photo: Bali Provincial Government

Two men on a mission to end quarantine requirements for foreign tourists arriving in Bali sooner rather than later, Bali Governor Wayan Koster and Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno, agreed yesterday to push for the suspension of visas on arrival to be lifted as well.

Despite having been open to international visitors as of October 2021 (initially to citizens of 19 countries and eventually all travelers as of Feb. 4), anybody who wishes to enter Bali (and Indonesia as a whole) is required to apply for a visa pre-departure.

Visa on Arrivals (VoA), a popular option for tourists before the pandemic, remains suspended until further notice.

Following calls from Bali tourism operators who are heavily dependent on tourism dollars, Sandiaga said that it is time for VoAs to be reactivated in order to encourage more travelers.

“The request from the Governor [Koster] and I agree with [is that] together we will push for VoAs,” said Sandiaga on Wednesday.

Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno. Photo: Instagram/@sandiuno

While acknowledging the importance of lifting the suspension, Sandiaga said that COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols must remain a priority.

Separately, Koster said that he had been in discussion with Sandiaga about the VoA issue. In addition, the two also discussed Koster’s proposal to end quarantine requirements for international visitors arriving in Bali, with the governor arguing that travel restrictions should be relaxed as the current COVID-19 crisis is manageable.

“We just have to see the development in the following week. If the [cases] are consistently decreasing and it can be stable, I think that will be conducive,” he said.

Koster pointed out the two direct flights landing in Bali recently, which, according to him, saw only one out of a total of 150 passengers testing positive for COVID-19. For him, it would be a pity if all of the people who tested negative for COVID-19 still need to be in quarantine.

“[But] of course this [quarantine erasure proposal] needs approval from the central government,” he said

Bali, known locally as the Island of Gods and famous for its beaches, surfing spots, nightclubs, and temples, saw the arrival of 639 international visitors to the island from Feb. 1 to Feb. 18.

Bali welcomed 6 million tourists in 2019 before the pandemic.

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