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Bali’s government has unexpectedly announced that the popular destination will revoke quarantine rules and restore its visa on arrival program for travelers from 23 countries. This list of countries includes the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, among others. This is HUGE news as Bali could once again climb the ranks of popular tourist destinations around the world.
The announcement comes as a major surprise as we didn’t expect any changes to be made until April. There is no doubt that the drop in the omicron’s free fall speed in cases, mixed with pressure from the tourism industry and the envy of other countries that have reopened, have played a huge role in this decision. It will be interesting to see if there is still great interest from the travel community to visit Bali after 2 years of very strict COVID restrictions.
The reopening process
Bali has been essentially closed for the past two years, only allowing foreigners on rare occasions. Last month they welcomed their first flight since the shutdown, but since then demand for travel to Bali has been slow to grow. Until this announcement, travelers had to take a COVID test before departure AND quarantine upon arrival just to take ANOTHER COVID test 3 days later. In addition, the “VISA on arrival” program had not yet been reinstated, which meant that travelers had to apply in advance to enter the country. This process is both expensive and time-consuming.
With this announcement, travelers from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada will once again receive a visa on arrival and can avoid the costly quarantine. The decision and the repeal of the restrictions relate strictly to the island of Bali. The government is taking steps to ensure travelers do not spread the virus off the island by requiring PCR test results from any foreigner trying to leave Bali.
There are still SOME entry requirements for Bali
- Show proof of vaccination or booster
- Take a PCR test upon arrival and wait for the results before entering public areas
- Visitors who test positive must undergo isolation at the designated quarantine hotel
- Covid-19 patients with comorbid conditions and the elderly should be isolated at designated hospital
- Insurance that covers COVID up to $100,000
- Travelers are required to take another PCR test on the third day before accessing provinces outside of Bali
Can Bali still be a top tourist destination?
Bali was an extremely popular destination for digital nomads, backpackers and tourists before the pandemic. Social media influencers lined the banks taking endless photos. Digital-age entrepreneurs have filled cafes mingling with like-minded people. Before the pandemic, 60% of the island’s economy relied on tourism. Will Bali make a return to these pre-pandemic levels?
Travelers are reluctant to return to places with tight and rapidly changing restrictions. Evidence of this sentiment has been seen in Australia, which recently reopened its borders to vaccinated travellers. It is understandable that travelers would not want to book or plan a trip to a place without a guarantee that they will be able to achieve it.
Zero COVID Policy
Indonesia as a whole plans to keep the “zero COVID policy” in place for the rest of the country. A policy to which many Asian countries still cling. However, at this point in the pandemic, it seems that politics may be futile. Many of the strictest countries, such as Australia and Austria, are starting to open their borders… And maybe Asia will follow soon.
Just to reiterate
Bali has unexpectedly announced that the popular destination will revoke quarantine rules and restore its visa on arrival program for travelers from 23 countries. This country list includes USA, Canada, Australia, England, Netherlands, Germany, Qatar, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Philippines and Cambodia. Hopefully we will soon see tourists flocking to the beaches of Bali again!
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Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions may change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or any changes to travel conditions before travelling. Travel Off Path does not approve travel against government advice