ReOpening of Bali to International Tourists

September 11, 2020 is the Projected Date for New Foreign Arrivals. Domestic tourists are now welcome

  • 10:59 AM, 22 Jul, 2020

By Floyd Cowan

One year ago, the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy was endeavouring to divert travellers from Bali to the “10 New Balis” attractive destinations throughout the archipelago. Rated as the second most popular tourist destination in the world Bali was one of those places that was suffering from ‘over tourism’ – too many people crowding attractions and taking away from the enjoyment and atmosphere that has made the ‘Island of the Gods’ so popular.

March 2020 the world changed. The Covid-19 global pandemic spread across the world and governments closed their borders in an attempt to control the virus. While the virus proved to be resilient economies proved to be less so. All access points to the island were closed, with exceptions for emergencies and logistics.

Empty streets, empty restaurants, empty hotel rooms.

People began to wonder which was worse, a pandemic threatening health and life or a devastated economy. Poverty. Whatever the answer, after months of inertia it became time to work a way out of it. 

At the end of May, Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy announced the implementation of the CHS (Cleanliness, Health, and Safety) programme. The Ministry, headed by Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani, began preparing recovery measures that included compiling SOP, which refers to health, cleanliness, and safety standards.

"This programme aims to increase the trust of tourists towards destinations and the tourism industry in Indonesia after the COVID-19 outbreak so as to encourage an increased-on tourists mobility and visit in Indonesia, which in the initial stage will certainly be dominated by domestic tourists," she said.

Giri explained that 'Clean' refers to a state free from dirt, including dust, rubbish, odours, free from viruses, pathogenic bacteria, and dangerous chemical substances. 'Health' is a service that implements health rules and regulations and the improvement of environmental parameters and encouraging the use of environmentally friendly and healthy technologies and behaviours. 'Safety' means a state free of risks, hazards, pollution, threats, permanent and non-permanent or physical and non-physical disruptions, in a certain place and time to manage, protect and increase the vigilance of the community, visitors and environmental quality. 

Whatever the world will be post Covid-19, it will be a cleaner world.

“For the initial stage,” Giri stated, “this programme will be implemented in Bali, because it is one of the provinces in Indonesia with a controlled distribution of COVID-19 and has been very good in handling it. Although Bali is a centre of tourism with many visitors, it is not the epicentre area of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia.”   

Bali became the pilot project of CHS implementation.  A CHS video campaign illustrates CHS protocols in Bali that follows the visitor’s journey from airport arrival to accommodation and having experiences, to departure. As of July 9, 2020, the island became open to domestic travellers, even if they were coming from ‘hot spots’ in the country.

If international visitors are welcomed as planned on September 11, there are a number of steps they will have to take before they will be accepted to travel to the island. Before departure they will have to provide a letter that states that they are Covid-19-free and confirmation of their hotel arrangements. Pick up arrangements must also be in place before arrival at the airport in Bali. There will be no mad rush of people swarming about – arrivals will be met by their guide/drivers and taken directly to their accommodation.

Passengers who cannot provide a negative PCR/Swab test result will be allowed to fly to Bali, however, the passenger must go through a PCR/Swab test upon arrival at their own cost at a health facility referred by the local authority and conduct a self-quarantine until the test result is issued. Forms are available on-line at https://cekdiri.baliprov.go.id/

All passengers are required to fill in the Bali Health Alert Form and they must download app EHac from Google Play Store (Android) or App Store (Apple), fill in their complete data, and claim a barcode which will be checked at the departure gate in the airport in Bali. The app is mandatory for the purpose of tracking down travellers during the New Normal period.

A guide, arranged for before arrival, will pick up guests following the standard min-protocol of the new normal. New and clean masks will be provided to the new arrivals along with hand sanitizer. Previous arrival customs will no longer be allowed such as giving guests necklace floral arrangements and there will be no photo session in or outside the terminal.  The guide will direct the guests to the vehicle with physical distancing protocol arrangements of having a maximum 50% of the vehicle capacity.

Hotels in Nusa Dua have been designated as the first that will be allowed to accept international visitors.

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