Indonesia says Bali to reopen to foreign visitors again

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JAKARTA – Bali, Indonesia’s holiday island, will begin welcoming visitors from all countries later this week, officials said on Monday (Jan 31), more than three months after announcing it was only open to certain nationalities.

Though Bali officially opened to visitors from China, New Zealand, and Japan, among other countries, in mid-October, there have been no direct flights since, according to tourism minister Sandiaga Uno.

The reopening follows similar statements from Thailand and the Philippines, which suspended quarantine waivers in December due to initial concerns about vaccination efficacy against the Omicron strain of COVID-19.

Amid having gotten outbreaks under control in the second half of last year, the decision comes despite a persistent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Indonesia this month. Omicron has been blamed for the rise, according to health officials.

Bali, known for its surfing, temples, waterfalls, and nightlife, had 6.2 million international tourists in 2019, the year before COVID-19 struck, but strong pandemic border restrictions destroyed tourism, which accounts for 54% of the island’s economy.

Singapore Airlines announced on Friday that flights to Bali from Singapore will resume on February 16.

According to senior minister Luhut Pandjaitan, overseas visitors who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 would still be forced to stay in quarantine for five to seven days beginning February 4.

Last Monday, Indonesia welcomed visitors from the country to two islands near Singapore.

According to Ida Ayu Indah Yustikarini of the Bali Government Tourism Office, the island has received international visitors in recent months via the capital Jakarta, but no official figures are available.

Source: Reuters

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