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Bali’s 2022 New Entry Rules Not Enough for Immediate Recovery

After the adverse effects of the pandemic, Bali is reopening its borders to travellers from 19 nations, although the exclusion of Australia and Singapore can be detrimental.

The prolonged pandemic struck the Indonesian resort island of Bali causing a detrimental impact on the economic sector due to strict travel restrictions. After 18 months, the popular white-sand beaches are welcoming selected international travellers from 19 nations although the omission of key source markets and strict entry requirements could deter arrivals.

Vaccinated visitors from 19 nations, including Japan, China, New Zealand and India, can now travel to Bali and Indonesia’s Riau Islands. Travellers are subject to Covid testing prior to and on arrival, as well as a five-day quarantine period. Having suffered from ongoing travel restrictions for 18 months, the plans to welcome international arrivals are considered a milestone for Indonesia’s tourism-dependent islands. Yet several major inbound markets for the country, including Bali’s key source markets of Australia and neighbouring Singapore, were omitted from the entry list.

As of January 6, 2022, the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases has risen by 533 from the previous day to 4,264,669 cases. In that same period, the number of deaths rose by 7 to 144,116 while the number of recovered patients rose by 209 to 4,115,358. As of September 15, 2021, foreigners or non-Indonesian citizens are allowed to enter Indonesia as long as they have been completely vaccinated for COVID-19. This is stipulated under Minister of Law and Human Rights Regulation No. 34/2021 (or Permenkumham No. 34/2021) on the Granting of Visa and Immigration Permit During the COVID-19 Pandemic Handling Period and Towards National Economic Recovery.

It should be noted that visa-on-arrivals are still not being granted until such time that the Indonesian government has deemed the COVID-19 pandemic to be over. Indonesia is currently implementing a more restrictive form of lockdown wherein non-essential and non-critical commercial activities are not allowed. Domestic travel is restricted while inter-regional travel is permissible only with a vaccination certificate or a valid negative COVID-19 test result.

The government began its COVID-19 Vaccination Program on January 13, 2021. It is split into four phases with healthcare workers receiving the first batch of vaccines, followed by public servants and then other members of the public.The government aims to inoculate a total of 208,265,720 people by the end of the year 2021.  As of January 6, 2021, as many as 167,999,777 Indonesians have received their first vaccinations or 773,534 more than the day before. Meanwhile, 115,554,584 people have received their second vaccinations or 731,980 more than the previous day. Meanwhile, for Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta, as of January 6, 2021, as many as 11,903,113 people have received their first vaccination, while 9,322,397 people have received their second vaccination.

In 2019, pre-pandemic, 224,000 Australians and 981,000 Singaporeans visited Indonesia, according to Global Data. Excluding these major markets could prolong the country’s tourism industry recovery. The reopening of Bali should support the eventual return of tourists to Indonesia in 2022 and beyond. 2022 is forecasted to experience a significant rise in visitors from Japan with the numbers set to increase by 60.2% YoY to 345,000 by 2022 while visitors from China are forecasted to rise by 59.1% YoY to 613,000 by 2022. However, current outbound travel restrictions do not permit leisure travel and until this occurs visitation from key source markets will not occur.

Indonesia’s partial reopening is a positive step, but the lack of markets included further delays the recovery of the country’s tourism sector. Indonesia’s partial reopening will not cause a sudden uptick in arrivals. The limited list and restrictions on travellers leaving some of the countries on the list will mean meaningful recovery is some way off.

Travellers worldwide are becoming more desperate to escape abroad and Bali will continue to be a sought after destination. However, the delay in reopening due to Covid-19 and the cautious step taken by Indonesia is likely to increase the prospect of neighbouring tourist hotspots capturing travellers who would usually visit Indonesia and Bali as fewer entry restrictions are in place.

Here are some rules for the traveller if they are having plan to take a vacation to Bali. Who have finished  quarantine can fly out on the same day for their domestic travel using their release letter, negative PCR test and completed eHAC.

  1. Negative PCR 3 x 24 hours prior to departure
  2. Test result must have a BarCode/QRCode
  3. Proof of vaccination Or Medical Health Exemption Letter
  4. Downloaded Peduli Lindungi App with completed eHAC

Besides the above requirements, upon arrival at the destination airport, passengers may have to go through additional health checks or to fill other forms/statement letters required by local authorities/local government. Passengers are expected to prepare a copy and original of the documents prior to arrival at the departure airport and present it upon check-in.

In response to the proliferation of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Directorate General of Immigrations at the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights has issued Circular No. IMI-0269.GR.01.01/2021 on the temporary ban on foreign citizens who have visited certain countries from entering Indonesia to prevent the spread of the B.1.1.529 COVID-19 variant. Foreigners who have visited these following countries within the last 14 days may be barred from entering Indonesia: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini, and Nigeria.

To improve destination crisis/disaster risk reduction, planning, and management capacity, there needs to be an emphasis on developing strategies which actively involve and integrate community stakeholders and available resources. Although there is evidence of existing partnerships between tourism industry and government, industry and emergency service providers, and/or government and private enterprise, there are few examples of effective host community participation and integration within the formal destination disaster management process. Beyond existing rhetoric of greater collaboration and cooperation, the issue of achieving and maintaining such stakeholder integration remains a priority. Additionally, further longitudinal studies of tourism crisis are recommended to assess the real sustainability and viability of destination recovery management strategies beyond a direct restoration of destination image or visitor arrivals numbers.

The government of Indonesia and Bali are continue to developing an idea to make Bali’s tourism get recovery soon. The new entry protocol might seems promising but we believe it is not enough to make Bali’s recovery as soon as possible. The pandemic make travel harder than before, so many additional costs need to be considered for the traveler to enter Bali. As Bali based article, we hope that the government will find enough resources and ideas to help Bali bounce back again and the citizen can get the income from the tourism like before the pandemic hit.