Jakarta, Jul 6 (efe-epa).- The tropical island of Bali, a favorite tourist hotspot, will reopen to foreign tourists on 11 September making Indonesia one of the first places in Southeast Asia to open borders since the beginning of the pandemic, authorities said Monday.
So far officials have not given details over whether the reopening of borders will include bans on tourists from certain regions but visitors will have to prove that they have tested negative for Covid-19 before entering the country, Putu Aswata head of the region’s Tourism Department told Efe.
No Southeast Asian or East Asian countries have announced when they will reopen borders to tourists without restrictions, with the exception of Cambodia which started receiving visitors in late May under extremely strict conditions which included making a $3,000 deposit on arrival which is returned after testing negative for coronavirus among other requirements.
The opening of the idyllic island will be carried out in phases, the first of which will launch on Thursday allowing national visitors who need access to the island for work reasons.
The second phase will start from 31 July when national tourism will be rebooted, and the last phase will pave the way for the re-entry of foreign visitors, according to a statement from the governor.
According to local authorities, the island of Bali received around 6.3 million tourists last year, making it the top tourist destination in Indonesia.
With 64,958 cases detected and 3,241 deaths, Indonesia is one of the most affected countries in Southeast Asia by the pandemic.
So far Bali has managed to keep the outbreak under control with 1,900 cases and 23 deaths, despite the fact that the restrictions have been relatively lax.
Indonesia closed borders to foreign visitors in March, but some tourists who were already in Bali decided to stay and local authorities calculate that, since then, around 1,000 tourists remain on the island, most of them from China, although some had also traveled from the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, France and Argentina. EFE-EPA