Bali Visa Quarantine Rules Under Review
Tribun-Bali.com reports that the Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, has met with Governor Wayan Koster and the Deputy Governor – Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati (Cok Ace) to discuss steps to restore the tourism sector and create employment opportunities. The meeting with the Minister took place at the Governor’s office in Bali on Friday, 17 December 2021.
Minister of Tourism & Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno
Sharing the content of the meeting, Sandiaga said that discussions touched on the state of the tourism sector and the creative economy in Bali. Discussions mainly revolved around visas, direct flights to Bali, quarantine requirements, and evaluating the countries selected for entry to Indonesia via Bali’s Airport. The Minister promised that he would report the meeting details to President Joko Widodo and other Presidential cabinet members.
“We will bring these details to a limited meeting at the inter-ministerial and inter-agency level to be reported to the President. The current plan is that at the beginning of the year, after the New Year holiday, we will hold a coordination meeting that specifically discusses these matters,” explained Sandi.
The Minister agreed that the available data shows a very high international interest in visiting Bali, especially in Europe and Australia.
Looking ahead, the Minister said that the G20 Summit scheduled in Bali in late October 2021 would bring many benefits to the island, with more than 150 meetings forming a part of the major international conference. Sandiaga said the challenge is converting this interest into a visit following our wishes to stimulate tourism and the creative economy in Bali, especially to open up job opportunities here. Bali Visa Quarantine
“There is a G20 summit which turns out will bring a lot of benefits with more than 150 sub-meetings to be held and the island which serves as the main venue,” said Sandiaga. The G20 Summit will also attract many side and preliminary events, including, among others, a world economic conference, world conference tourism day (September 2022), and an Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) meeting in August 2022.
Although Bali has declared itself open to selected foreign visitors from 19 countries since 14 October 2021, no foreign or Indonesian carrier has commenced direct international flights to the Island. Fluctuating quarantine requirements, visa policies, and insurance requirements are often cited. Bali Visa Quarantine
The lack of interest in operating direct international flights to Bali is said to be due to several reasons that include visa policies, mandatory quarantine in hotels, and insurance requirements.
The Tourism Minister also blamed low international visitor numbers on a global reluctance to travel, with Europeans waiting for more conducive travel policies to be put in place before they make holiday plans.
Sandiaga issued assurances that the Central Government understood the aspiration of Bali tourism players to reopen its borders to international tourists and had recently relaxed travel restrictions to help foster a return of foreign travelers to Bali.
Bali Visa Quarantine – Governor Responds to Threats of Protests
Public threats to “take to the streets” by leading tourism stakeholders in Bali have precipitated a response from the Provincial Government of Bali.
As reported by RadarBali.com, the provincial administrators of the island are publicly insisting that they “truly understand” the plight and current circumstances of the Island’s tourism sector.
Dewa Made Indra, the Provincial Secretary for Bali, assured all of the government’s empathetic understanding on Thursday, 16 December 2021. Adding: “Of course we understand, the Governor truly understands. There is one shared understanding between the provincial government and tourism stakeholders and a shared desire to restart the Island’s tourism economy.”
At the same time, Dewa Indra reminded all concerned that the government must put safeguards in place to prevent the intrusion and spread of new variants of COVID-19 in Bali. “Therefore, by working together to overcome Covid-19 with restrictions. Hopefully, new variants do not enter Bali, we can control Covid-19, and the economy can move towards recovery,” he said.
Earlier, Governor Koster raised the anger of many leaders in tourism circles by telling them to “remain patient” in the face of the continuing pandemic. This admonition earned an unusually cynical retort from the chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, who said, “Maybe his (the Governor’s) saving account balance is still high.” Bali Visa Quarantine
In response, the Governor justified the need for patience, claiming haste in reopening international borders could cause spikes in new cases that would prove difficult to control.
The BTB chairman, Adnyana, warned the Governor that the people’s patience was at an end and threatened that tourism workers would soon take to the streets in protest if Bali’s borders were not soon reopened. Adnyana insisted that the government should introduce tourism policies that were more “pro-people.”
Adnyana, on Monday, 13 December 2021, apologized if his statements offended certain parties but warned requests for patience were dependent on the government adopting policies that are “pro-people.” He admitted Bali’s current situation is complicated and problematic, acknowledging that health must remain the government’s primary consideration. Bali Visa Quarantine
BTB is blaming a lack of clarity and frequent changes in government policies, causing the cancellation of many events scheduled for Bali over the year-end holidays. Meanwhile. tourism industry members are scratching their heads, confused by rapid-fire changes that include the imposition of a “PPKM Level 3″ warning followed equally rapid revocation; and a change of name from PPKM to the “Limitation of Public Movement for Christmas and New Year’s.”
Adnyana agrees with the recent revocation of the “PPKM Level 3” status for Bali warranted by the Island’s strict adherence to health protocols stipulated by the central government. He also praised Bali’s high rate of vaccination, the use of the government-controlled PeduliLindungi Application, high testing levels, and the lowering of the cost of COVID testing.
Adnyana welcomed the relaxation of controls on Christmas and New Year’s celebrations on the island, providing health protocols and occupancy levels are controlled.
Bali Visa Quarantine – “Demo” Threat for Bali Stepped Back
RadarBali.com and RadarBali.com report that the Forum for Bali’s Revival (Forum Bali Bangkit-FBB) recently held a meeting with the government, the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), The Indonesian Tourism Board (GIPI), and The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin) on Tuesday, 21 December 2021
At that meeting, several points were mutually agreed upon, including a recommendation that COVID-19 on the Islands of Java and Bali be handled as separated cases.
Another point jointly agreed addressed at the meeting was the urgent need for more flexibility in reopening the islands international borders to international travel by easing access to e-Visas and removing the current requirement for a financial sponsor/guarantor.
Wayan Puspa Negara, a member of FBB, told the press at the meeting: “Or just reopen the application process of Visas-On-Arrival (VOA) and visa-free visits, especially for countries with low COVID-19 risk profiles.” Bali Visa Quarantine
The FBB also recommended that foreign tourists enter Bali without mandatory quarantine in a specially designated hotel. Alternatively, consider changing quarantine rules based on confinement within a specific region of the Island. “The Island of Bali should become a quarantine island where arriving tourists can choose to stay in one of the hotels with CHSE Certification and where all the hotel’s workers have been vaccinated,” said Puspa Negara.
The FBB suggested the central government examine COVID-19 policies implemented by New South Wales, Australia. The New South Wales government revoked the quarantine requirement effective 01 November 2021 for foreign tourists and Australian residents, providing these people are all fully vaccinated.
The FBB has also recommended that rules governing flights to Bali be altered to allow international travelers to quarantine in Bali after arriving on a domestic flight connecting from an international flight to Indonesia. The tourism association has also asked the government to expand beyond the current list of only 19 countries whose citizens are welcome to visit Bali. Moreover, FBB wants the government to prioritize European nations and Australia on its list of welcomed visitors. Bali Visa Quarantine
Included in FBB’s list of recommendations is a call to reduce the current need for US$ 150,000 in COVID-19 insurance coverage to the lesser amount of US$50,000.
Also included in FBB’s demands is a desire for Java and Bali to be treated as separate and distinct areas for government shutdown orders (PPKM). One example of how this separate treatment would apply is allowing Bali businesses to remain open until midnight. Bali Visa Quarantine
FBB also wants a revision of current immigration rules and the reinstatement of the visa-on-arrival facility, citing the current complicated procedures to obtain a B211A Visa is deterring the return of international travelers to Bali and the rest of Indonesia.
Singapore has discovered little evidence exists showing that fully-vaccinated foreign travelers serve as vectors for new clusters of COVID-19.
FBB claims that 10 or 14 day quarantine periods cause travelers and airlines to seek destinates with a less draconian period of medical incarceration. FBB wants the Indonesian government to consider the average length of stay for Asian travelers is 3-5 days, Australians 5-7 days, and European/USA travelers 10-14 days. “If there is a 14-day quarantine, the visitor will spend all their time and money in quarantine,” complained Puspa Negara.
The recommendations of The Forum for Bali’s Revival have been forwarded to Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism, Sandiaga Uno, and the chairman of Commission X of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR-RI). Bali Visa & Quarantine
Clarifying Threats of Demonstrations in Bali
In an apparent retreat from earlier threats to mount street demonstration if Bali is not quickly reopened to international tourism, Puspa Negara is now “clarifying” that threat, insisting that the FBB will host demonstrations of skills reflecting the skills of its members. Apparently, “protests” and “demonstrations” will take the form of cooking “demonstrations,” flair bartending “demonstrations,” and alike.
Signaling his inability to “quit while he was ahead” and trying to walk back earlier threats of public demonstrations, Puspa Negara explained: “Those of us in tourism do not wish to damage our image! It’s just that “demo” is a language familiar to us. We are awaiting a serious stance from the regional and central governments so that foreign tourists can soon come to Bali.”
Bali Visa Quarantine – 5 Obstacles to Foreign Tourists’ Return
Although Bali was declared reopen for international flights on 14 October 2021, the anticipated flood of foreign tourists has yet to materialize more than two months later. For various reasons, both Indonesian and foreign airlines have failed to start the bureaucratic procedures to secure official flight slots necessary to resume operations. Data from the Bali Bureau of Statistics (BPS) showed only two foreign travelers arriving in Bali for the entire month of October 2021. Any foreign nationals now coming to Bali do so as domestic travelers after first undergoing quarantines and COVID screening in Jakarta.
The contrast in Bali arrival numbers with totals for the same period in years’ past couldn’t be more dramatic. With the pandemic already in full swing in October 2020, Bali directly welcomed only seven foreigners via Bali’s Airport and 56 foreigners at the Island’s Seaport of Benoa. In October 2019, before the pandemic, Bali saw 567,000 foreign tourists land by air and sea. Bali Visa Quarantine
As reported by Balipost.com, Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, identified five main obstacles preventing the restart of international tourist arrivals in Bali. Speaking on Saturday, 18 December 2021, Sandiaga said the five leading obstacles preventing foreigners from coming directly to Bali are:
- Mandatory quarantine periods
- Visa facilitation
- Direct flights
- Mandatory insurance coverage for COVID treatment
- The limited number of countries permitted to visit Bali.
Indonesia’s Tourism Minister promised to bring these “five obstacles” to the attention of Jakarta’s highest circles of power for further discussion. Bali Visa Quarantine
Sandiaga expressed the hope that following the coming Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the potential emergence of the Omicron Variant will be under firm control.
The Minister welcomed the news that domestic arrivals to Bali continue to increase, averaging more than 10,000 travelers per day since late November. “The activities of domestic tourists coming to Bali have boosted Bali’s economy that is very dependent on foreign tourists. I see the G20 Summit (in October 2022) as a game-changer. If the Omicron Variant can be controlled, we will recommend those quarantine requirements not be based on isolation in a hotel room, but based on limited movements within a limited geographical area,” said Sandiaga.
Bali Domestic Arrivals Setting New Records
Balipost.com quotes the Indonesian Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, who reports that domestic tourist arrivals in Bali on Friday, 17 December 2021, reached a new record of 14,648 travelers based on data provided by Bank Indonesia. This total includes only domestic arrivals in Bali by air and does not include arrival by sea via Bali’s main ferry ports in Gilimanuk and Padang Bai. Bali Visa Quarantine
For the ten days 01-10 December 2021, Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport counted 113,687 domestic arrivals resulting in an average of 11,368 passengers over the subject period. In the same 10-day period, the single highest record of domestic arrivals occurred on 10 December with 13,447 domestic arrivals.
Sandiaga gave thanks for the high number of domestic arrivals during a period in which Indonesia is still by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Adding: “While room rates at hotels are not able to increase, but room nights in several island tourist areas have improved.”
As Christmas and New Year drew closer, Bali has consistently surpassed 10,000 daily domestic visitors by air and exceeded arrival targets earlier set by the Tourism Ministry. Bali Visa Quarantine
The Minister postulates that with domestic air arrivals exceeding 10,000 and 12,000 travelers every day, hotel occupancies are improving, and the economy of the Island is showing some signs of recovery. While Bali remains the most popular tourist destination for domestic travelers, Sandiaga also takes faith in the fact that international tourism surveys show Bali remains the “first choice” for foreign travelers planning a future vacation.
Based on current trends, the Ministry of Tourism is optimistic that in 2022 domestic tourism will achieve a targeted 10,000 – 15,000 arrivals per day. Bali Visa Quarantine
1.6 million to 2.4 million domestic travelers are targeted to visit Bali for all of 2022. Moreover, the Tourism Ministry foresees a shift in domestic travel to visitors of higher quality who stay longer and spend more during their stay.
“Domestic tourism arrivals will increase by 30-40%, dominated by travelers interested in nature and culture. Bali will remain a leading tourism destination, what’s more, with the G20 Summit (October 2022). We will continue to push for G20 participants, and delegates will extend their stays in Indonesia and include visits to Labuan Baju, Mandalika, Borobudur, and other proposed destinations such as Tanah Toraja. We are optimistic that new employment opportunities will be created, tourism will revive, and the economy will recover. The key is discipline in the handling of COVID-19,” said Sandiaga Uno.
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