While Indonesia is now the most affected country by the COVID-19 pandemics in Southeast Asia, Bali regional government believes that it will be able to reopen to international tourism around September 10. An impossible wish or can Bali be really ready for this ?
Indonesia is now the worst hit country by the COVID-19 pandemics. On July 15, Indonesia had over 80,000 people infected by the virus while the total number of deads is getting close to 4,000.
However, this does not seem to deter Bali to be look after the possible reopening of the island to foreign travellers. “The pandemic has hit our tourism sector so badly and there is no certainty when it will end,” explains Bali Governor Wayan Koster. “We have to revive economic activity to prevent Bali from new social problems due to increasing economic pressures.
Officially, Bali has been kept safe from the pandemics although some experts doubt the total number of 2,000 cases. The province entered early July phase one of its three phases to the revival of tourism and its economy after a three-month shut down. The first phase allows some operations to resume in the agricultural, construction and government industries, among others. Schools and tourism-related businesses will remain closed but local tourists are welcome again.
The second phase, starting on July 31, will allow the return of domestic tourists. In a third phase starting September 11, international tourists will again be welcome on the island.
Throughout the phases, the Bali government urges “order, discipline and responsibility” by encouraging residents and visitors to wear face coverings, avoid crowds and frequently wash their hands
“With these efforts, we have been able to manage the COVID-19 [virus], but we still do not know for sure when the pandemic will end, considering that we have not found the vaccine,” says a press release issued by the Bali Tourism Board. “Therefore we must strive to manage COVID-19, while at the same time start working again for the sake of human life. This activity will be done gradually and selectively.”
Indonesian national carrier already announced to plan launching direct international flights from Europe, in particular from France and Germany to Denpasar. The airline has been struggling to turn profitable its European direct flight from Amsterdam to Jakarta. Bali is the largest tourism destination by welcoming over five million tourists per year. The island relies on the tourism industry as its main source of income.