The most common question asked to officials is When Will Bali Reopen for Tourists? After a brave announcement back in March that the island would ‘reopen in Mid-2021’, it seems that both the national and regional governments are doing their best to stick to that plan, with a rough estimation to reopen sometime this July 2021.
Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, stated on 11 June 2021 that he believes Bali is already 90% prepared for the reopening of its borders for foreign tourists.
When Will Bali Reopen for Tourists?
This is not an easy question to answer, as the goalposts for Bali’s reopening keep moving. Whilst a general timeline has been set, the real deadline is not so much ‘time’ but rather a target that is based on both Covid-19 cases and most importantly the vaccination targets: 70% of Bali residents must be vaccinated to create an island-wide herd immunity. This amounts to around 3 million people that must ‘receive a vaccination dose’.
Bali has benefited from being the most heavily vaccinated region in indonesia, in hopes that this will fast-track when Bali will open its borders and finally have hopes for economic recovery. To date, around 1.5 million residents have received their first jab, and around 677 thousand have received their second jab. However, it must be noted that officials are quoting targets for ‘vaccination doses’, as stated above, rather than vaccinated individuals which was the initial goal.
How is the Island Preparing for Bali Reopening its Borders?
The island has actually been preparing since before the end of 2020, when the 1 January 2021 was set as the initial opening date. With that, businesses have been preparing themselves by setting up the expected protocols that international travellers would hope for.
The government’s CHSE (Cleanliness, Health, Safety and Environmentally Sustainable) program is being ramped up with a target of 1,200 businesses (mainly hospitality) and destinations being certified under the program’s procedures before the reopening of borders. At time of writing, 830 businesses have been certified under the program.
Will Bali’s Borders be Open for Everyone?
The reopening of Bali’s tourist economy in July would not mean opening the island to just anyone. Tourism will begin through controlled travel bubbles with selected countries, based on each country’s own procedures and case numbers. Currently, agreements are being discussed with around seven countries, including Singapore, The Netherlands, China and the United Arab Emirates.
Despite being ‘90% ready’, very few details on the ‘Green Zones’ of Sanur, Nusa Dua and Ubud have been shared with the public, with many in the industry still confused on how this will be achieved in practice. These were touted as areas in which tourists could travel to safely, with increased measures on entry, exit, immunisation, etc, to ensure a closed bubble and the safety of travellers (or even residents).
Whilst July 2021 remains the target, the above is the actual criteria for Bali reopening for tourism; thus the reopening depends mainly on rollout of the vaccination program; the preparedness of the island’s private and public infrastructure; and the bilateral agreements made for travel corridors. In parallel, to aid Bali’s recovery, the government continues to push the Work from Bali campaign to encourage individuals and even businesses to work remotely on the island, thus supporting businesses.