Bali province is still focusing on public health amid the COVID-19 pandemic and has no plans on restarting tourism activities in the near future, the governor says, as Indonesia appears set to head into a so-called “new normal” despite the lack of downward trend in new cases of the coronavirus across the archipelago.
“We are prioritizing health in Bali. The president has also agreed that tourism will be [considered] last,” Bali Governor Wayan Koster said today.
Koster noted that the province will be focusing on restarting the local economy first, adding that officials are still reviewing the steps forward on this matter.
Tourist attractions across the island, including its popular beaches, have been temporarily closed to visitors since late March.
Talks of a new normal are front and center among Indonesian officials this week, with discussions of strict health protocols taking precedence, including in the tourism industry. President Joko Widodo said officials and tourism players should anticipate a massive trend change in traveling and called on the establishment of tourism-focused health protocols for when travel restarts.
However, Jokowi also said that tourist destinations in the country shouldn’t reopen in haste. The remark follows an announcement from the governor of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) on Wednesday, who announced that tourist destinations in that province will begin reopening on June 15.
“Once again, on the field it needs to be extremely strict before we reopen, so that travelers, whether domestic or foreign, can travel safely and members of the public can return to a productive life,” Jokowi said.
For the time being, there are plans set for Bali to become the pilot location in the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry’s Cleanliness, Health, and Safety (CHS) program, which is currently being prepared to welcome visitors after the coronavirus pandemic.
As for when that will take place, officials have yet to disclose more details but previously hinted at the possibility that the popular holiday destination could reopen to tourists in October, often citing the province’s perceived success in controlling the coronavirus outbreak.
Bali has so far recorded 443 cases of the coronavirus, including 320 recoveries and four deaths.