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Indonesia plans to ease quarantine restrictions for travelers arriving in Bali by April. The government is moving towards “living with the virus”. The country officially reopened to tourists on February 4, but it’s not easy to get there just yet.
A government representative declared monday “We have to find that balance between the need to maintain health and the need to maintain the economy.” It is expected that by April the government will drop all quarantine restrictions and possibly the second PCR test on arrival. An essential change of pace for Bali’s battered economy.
Currently, all visitors must have a negative Covid-19 test before departure. They will also have to take another PCR test on the 3rd day of quarantine, with a negative result required for release. Travelers must also hold proof of health insurance with a coverage value of at least $100,000 for the treatment of COVID-19. In addition to this, travelers must obtain a visa before coming to the country, but more on that later.
Bali is a very popular destination for digital nomads, backpackers and tourists. Social media influencers and retirees lined the shores of this beautiful destination. Before the pandemic, 60% of the island’s economy relied on tourism.
The country has been slower than some of its neighbors to announce its reopening, previously adhering to the controversial “Zero COVID” policy. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka have all partially opened their borders.
So finally, travelers will be able to return to Bali, right? Well, maybe.
Several issues still prevent Bali from becoming the thriving tourist destination it once was.
- The visa on arrival program is not being reinstated at this time. This means that travelers must apply for a visa before traveling to Indonesia, which can be expensive and time-consuming and certainly doesn’t appeal to those who live the jet-setter life.
- Many airlines have yet to restore routes to Bali due to lack of demand and tight restrictions. The first international flight carrying tourists to Bali arrived yesterday from Singapore. More flights are expected in March, but airlines are cautious.
- Travelers are reluctant to return to places with tight and rapidly changing restrictions. We see this evident in tourism figures from other Southeast Asian countries and Australia. 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. Bali partially reopened its borders in October 2021, and only 45 international travelers have entered since then.
At present, the Indonesian government prohibits foreign visitors from transiting and visiting Indonesian territory unless they are in possession of a valid residence permit or certain categories of visas. Visa-free and visa-on-arrival entry for all foreign travelers, including U.S. citizens, remains suspended. The government has not indicated a timetable for the expiration of restrictions on international visitors.
If you have one of these visas, you will need to present a negative Covid-19 test before departure. They will also have to take another PCR test on the 3rd day of quarantine. You will also need proof of health insurance with a coverage value of at least $100,000 for treatment of COVID-19.
As the rest of Southeast Asia emerges from these outdated pandemic-era restrictions, we can only hope that the Indonesian government moves quickly to remove its restrictions. Since they won’t want to miss another tourist season.
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