Australians thought they had no hope of travelling abroad this year.
While the only way to leave Australia remains via a government exemption, Indonesia’s Co-ordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Pandjaitan, is fighting to help us visit Bali for pleasure sooner rather than later.
During an address to the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club on Monday, Pandjaitan said Indonesia is in negotiations with Canberra to create a travel bubble with Australia as soon as next month.
Comments made by the Australian government suggest this is absurdly optimistic.
That said: Indonesia is reopening its borders to international visitors in September, and is keen to include Australia – a relatively safe and profitable country to open up too – in the arrangement.
As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, in response to a question about the September plan, Pandjaitan said: “Well, yes. I think I heard Australia has a plan to do so [open travel bubbles]. They especially love Bali. We can consider that one.”
“We negotiate with Australia, we will see what happens. I think what they need from us and what we need from them, we have to negotiate on that. Their standards have to be to the standard of here, because no one can claim they are better than others.”
In relation to the floated ‘bali bubble’, Australian Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has advised Australians not to “get ahead of themselves.”
“There is still a way to go in opening up travel with New Zealand, which remains more likely than other countries,” he said.
“With our international borders expected to remain closed for the foreseeable future, our priority is getting Australians travelling to other parts of Australia, where it is safe to do so.”
Especially given the recent COVID setbacks in Victoria and New Zealand, some argue the thought of a Bali bubble (right now) is laughable.
Not to mention: just because Bali may allow Australians entry, the plan would still hinge on the Australian government letting us leave for leisure – which is highly unlikely to be a credible option in September.