Bali Governor I Wayan Koster has announced that the world famous resort island will reopen its borders for international tourists on Sept. 11 under strict health protocol.
Koster explained that the Bali administration had prepared a three-phase plan on relaxing restrictions to welcome tourists to the island. The first phase started on July 9 when the administration began reopening local businesses and tourist spots for residents of Bali.
“We’ll start the second phase on July 31 by reopening tourism for domestic tourists,” Koster said on Wednesday as reported by tempo.com.
“The third phase would be launched on Sept. 11. We’ll open our borders for international tourists.”
The governor explained that his administration had set up health protocols at tourist destinations and other public places to curb transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus. He would also require international tourists to be tested negative for COVID-19 prior to their trips.
“International tourists would be required to provide negative COVID-19 test results that are valid for two weeks in accordance with the circular issued by the transportation minister,” he said.
Tourism in Bali has been hit hard by the global pandemic, which has cut off travel to the island, hence the sharp decline in tourists this year.
Koster said international tourists visiting Bali contributed to 41 percent to the country’s tourism revenues, amounting to around Rp 116 trillion (US$7.97 billion).
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo previously urged regional administrations to ensure that tourism in the new normal era provided tourists with safety and comfort so that they could stay longer and spend more.
Koster said that, in 2019, 6.3 million international tourists visited Bali, accounting for 39 percent of international tourism in the country.
“However, we don’t want to focus solely on international tourists, since the potential for local tourists is also great,” Koster said.
As of Friday, Bali had recorded 3,058 cases of COVID-19 consisting of 3,036 locals and 22 foreigners. The province has seen 2,321 recoveries and 48 deaths. (nal)