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Bali opens for tourism soon, why not right now?
Bali opens for tourism later this year. That is the responsible decision Indonesia has made. It’s hard for the island, for tourism, but it’s probably the right decision. The Indonesian government will not open Bali to foreign tourists until the Covid-19 numbers have dropped significantly, according to the country’s tourism minister in an interview in late July 21 (source Reuter).
The coronavirus pandemic has significantly damaged Bali’s economy, this beautiful island, which has long attracted tourists due to the island’s spectacular beaches, delicious food, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful, gentle Hindu culture.
“We were aiming for the end of July, the beginning of August, but we just need to be aware of where we are in this recent rise (in the case of Coronavirus),” said Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Economy, Mr. Sandiaga Uno to Reuters last week.
“We will wait for the situation to become more favorable for an opening that is both sound and does not create a new lockdown.”
Significant increases in Corona cases call for caution
Coronavirus infections have increased dramatically in Indonesia in recent weeks, including in Bali, where there has been a quadrupling in the last month, albeit from a low base, to about 200 cases a day, according to official data.
Uno stated that he hoped to reduce Bali’s daily coronavirus infection hit to 30 or 40 before reopening.
According to data released by the World Health Organization, the true extent of Bali’s infections is obscured by the island’s (too) low test rates, which are 15% of the minimum recommended by the WHO.
According to Mr. Uno, the Indonesian government prioritized vaccinations in Bali and saw good early results because most people infected with coronavirus had only mild symptoms.
While hospitalized with Covid19 in many parts of the nearby, densely populated island of Java approached 100% of capacity, he said the number in Bali was less than 50% of capacity.
Bali is well vaccinated, now we have to see the result
Uno estimated that 71% of Balinese residents had received their first vaccine dose and that the goal of full vaccination for 70% of the population could be reached by the end of July.
Domestic visitors such as from Indonesia to Bali are now required to undergo a PCR test before entering the island, as part of an attempt to protect the island from the pandemic.
Are the digital nomads the rescue for Bali´s economy?
In addition to traditional tourists, Bali hopes to attract ‘digital nomads’ or international entrepreneurs who run Internet-based businesses. Under the proposed scheme, they will receive a five-year visa.
“If they earn an income in Indonesia, they will be taxed, but if they only earn income from abroad, there will be no tax,” Uno explained.
Other destinations also favor the digital the nomads
Destinations are now eager to take advantage of vaccinated travelers with options ranging from traditional EU favorites such as Greece, Spain and Italy to the beautiful Maldives, Seychelles and others. This quickly creates intense competition, with some countries, such as Malta, offering incentives to visitors.
The saved demand and millions of people already vaccinated would result in a significant subset of travelers who could travel with minimal risk to the local population and could do wonders for the local economy, which has suffered significantly without visitors, with Bali particularly hard hit.
Seconded and digital nomads who resided in Bali during covid-19 at the peak were despised from around the world for rejecting local covid-19 restrictions. The fines imposed are significant to the local population, but at around $ 7 in Western currency, many visitors chose to pay instead of wearing masks and complying with other measures.
Hopefully, increased international tourism and stricter enforcement will contribute to a successful tourism experience. As part of the current plan to welcome international visitors, fines would be increased to $ 70 on the spot, and all visitors would be deported for subsequent offenses.