Life & Leisure

Bali reopens to international tourism after 2 years of semi-closure

Singapore, Feb 4 (EFE).- The Indonesian island of Bali reopened Friday to tourists worldwide, under restrictions, after almost two years without receiving international flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The island now allows flights from all over the world after opening in October to a limited list of countries, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Dubai and New Zealand.

However, the first international flight with foreign tourists, after almost two years receiving only domestic connections, did not take place until Thursday.

A Garuda Indonesia flight from Tokyo, landed on the island at 4:33 p.m. local time Thursday (9:33 GMT) with twelve people on board, six foreigners and six Indonesians, according to the Bali Tourism Office.

The island still imposes requirements on visitors, who must be vaccinated and willing to spend five days in quarantine – reduced from the initial seven – in one of the five hotels or six boats designated for it by the Indonesian Tourism Ministry.

The opening is not expected to attract the high numbers of travelers from before the pandemic, with no more arrivals of international flights planned at the moment, although Singapore Airlines has announced it would restore direct flights with Bali from Feb. 16.

In 2019, Bali welcomed 16 million visitors, compared to 4 million in 2020 and 1.5 million in 2021.

The opening of Bali, where tourism accounts for 54 percent of its economy, is also hampered by the pandemic situation, with a spike in infections attributed to the omicron variant in Indonesia, which recorded nearly 18,000 new infections Wednesday, compared to the 300 daily cases in early January.

At least 53.6 percent of the Indonesian population has received the complete vaccination schedule against Covid-19, according to Our World in Data.

With more restrictions, Bali joins other places in Southeast Asia also trying to re-attract international tourism.

Thailand reopened to tourism Tuesday without quarantine, and the Philippines will follow suit from Thursday.

Last week, Indonesia agreed with Singapore to open two of its islands, Batam and Bintan, to visitors from the city-state, some 50 kilometers from the islands in the Indonesian province of Riau, although tourists are obliged to stay in designated hotels. EFE


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