Bali to reopen to international flights

Versie Dortch

Jakarta (CNN) — The Indonesian island of Bali is to reopen its airport to international arrivals this month, officials have announced, signaling that the country is potentially ready to revive its tourism industry after being hard hit by Covid-19.

Bali Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar will begin welcoming arrivals from a select number of countries from October 14, according to Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Indonesia’s minister of maritime affairs and investment.

He did not clarify whether foreign tourists would be permitted.

He said the move would go ahead provided the airport can fulfill requirements for quarantine, testing and Covid response.

“Every international arrival passenger must have proof of booking a hotel for quarantine for a minimum of eight days at their own expense,” Luhut said in a press conference.

The logistics for this plan are still unspecified.

There is currently no list of accepted accommodation where tourists will be allowed to quarantine, and it’s unknown if Bali will open up tourist-only “corridors” or “bubbles” to keep travelers and locals separated.

An earlier plan to restart Bali’s tourism industry in September was scrapped. Indonesia has been one of Asia’s hardest-hit countries in terms of Covid cases and fatalities. It’s only now emerging from a spike in early August which claimed hundreds of lives daily.

Luhut said Indonesia is still selective in allowing which foreigners can enter Indonesia. Citizens of several countries are currently allowed to enter under highly specific circumstances, including South Korea, China, Japan, the United Arab Emirates such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and New Zealand.

Indonesia’s Immigration Department spokesperson, Arya Pradhana Anggakara, told CNN on Tuesday that tourists — who are solely engaged in leisure travel — are not currently allowed to enter the country.

At present, visas are only given to foreigners deemed urgent and skilled workers, paramedics or investor. Foreigners married to Indonesians are also permitted.

The announcement comes as the government has extended level-three restrictions in Java and Bali for another two weeks. Some facilities will be able to open with gyms operating at a limited capacity and food stalls open for business.

As of October 5, Indonesia has reported 4,220,206 cases of the virus with 142,261 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Approximately 20% of the population is fully vaccinated against the virus.

Lilit Marcus was reporting from Hong Kong.

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