How Bali plans to reopen to tourists from September
May 29, 2020
Last Update: 2020-07-07 11:45:25
Bali, one of Southeast Asia's most popular backpacking destinations, is set to reopen its borders to tourists in September.
The Indonesian island, which closed its borders and suspended its visas-on-arrival policy in March, has reported some success in managing the coronavirus outbreak with relatively low infection rates. Now the government is looking to reopen the island's most popular vacation spots to local tourists from July 9 and to international tourists from September 11, a month ahead of its initial reopening date in October, according to Reuters.
To safely reopen hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions, a new CHS (Cleanliness, Health, and Safety) program will be rolled out that sets out guidelines for increased health, hygiene and safety standards. It's hoped the program will restore visitors' confidence in the safety of Bali as a destination.
The luxury resort islands of Nusa Dua is earmarked as the first destination to trial the CHS program, according to a statement from the ministry of tourism, and will start to reopen businesses under the new guidelines. The ministry will work on fine tuning the details to prepare Bali to safely welcome visitors by early autumn. "Considering that Bali is a major tourist destination, it is necessary to take immediate and prompt steps to restore all affected tourism destinations," tourism secretary, Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani, stated.
Nusa Dua may be the first Balinese island to welcome tourists ©Andrey Shapovalov cit/Shutterstock
There are also plans to reopen Yogyakarta soon, the Javan island famous for its Buddhist temple Borobudur, as well as the Riau islands, which rank second only to Bali as the most-visited destination in the country for international visitors.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit Bali's tourism-dependent workforce hard with almost all tourist destinations, attractions, and facilities suspended or closed since the state of emergency was implemented in March. I Ketut Ardana, head of Bali's branch of the Indonesian National Organisation for Tours and Travel (ASITA), told the ABC "80% of people in Bali rely on tourism whether directly or indirectly. All of us in the industry are really struggling right now, what we're waiting for is for this pandemic to end."
Yogyakarta famous for the Borobudur Temple could welcome tourists from October ©vicnt/Getty Images
Elsewhere in Indonesia officials are struggling to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and this week the government has come under criticism on social media under the hashtag #IndonesiaTerserah (#IndonesiaWhatever). Indonesia has one of the world's lowest testing rates, according to the Telegraph and government officials have confirmed the data is incomplete.