Source from: Antara News
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The tourism industry has welcomed the government’s plan to reopen Bali island to international tourists by the middle of this year, offering a much-needed lifeline to beleaguered tourism businesses and operators.
“We are very delighted with the move signaled by President Joko Widodo to open Bali in June or July this year. We have been waiting for a year and it has not been in vain,” said corporate secretary, PT Destinasi Tirta Nusantara, AB Sadewa, in a statement received here on Tuesday.
“As a tourism industry maker, we hope the reopening of Bali can truly be realized in order to boost the recovery of the tourism and economy sector,” he added.
For a year, the tourism sector, which specifically caters to international tourists, has stopped operations due to restrictions on entry of foreign travelers, he noted.
The reopening of Bali is scheduled to begin in July, 2021 with pilot trials in three green zone destinations — Ubud, Sanur, and Nusa Dua. The vaccination campaign is being accelerated in the green zones to ensure the safety and comfort of tourists coming into Bali.
COVID-19 vaccination programs have been held simultaneously in the three green zone areas in Bali, starting Monday (March 22, 2021), with the vaccines supplied by the central government.
The central government has supported the supply of vaccines in accordance with the requirement of 170,487 doses, divided over three regions. At least 47,045 doses have been given to the Ubud region, 87,715 to Nusa Dua, and 35,727 doses to the Sanur region.
Sadewa said he is optimistic that opening Bali to foreign tourists could be a turning point for tourism recovery in Indonesia in general and help move the local economy, such as hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops, and ensure health protocol readiness, or CHSE (Cleanliness, Health, Safety, Environment), as per the standards set by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.
To maintain tourism sustainability, Sadewa said he hopes the government would roll out stimulus or incentives, especially for tourist agencies to help them restart operations that have been halted for over a year. Such stimulus measures, he said, can be in the form of a soft loan for capital, marketing cost incentives, relaxation for foreign tourists who come to Indonesia, and tourism grants.
He also said he is hoping for prompt implementation of ‘vaccine passports’ for foreign tourists who have received their shots, in order to reduce the risk of transmission. This will certainly encourage travelers who want to vacation in Indonesia as well as boost the level of acceptance of foreign tourists by the Indonesian people, he added.
“We hope that Bali (tourism) will soon be revived if the vaccination process goes on every day. If the spread of COVID-19 begins to slow down, with the designated steps by the regional governments, the opening of the economic sector in Bali can be carried out one by one, especially the tourism sector, to (help the region) return to normal,” said President Joko Widodo while reviewing a mass vaccination program in Gianyar, Bali on March 16, 2021.
If the three green or COVID-19-free tourist destinations are opened to tourists, monitoring and evaluation will continue every week, including the developments following the reopening.
“Green Zone Tourism or COVID-19 free areas will be able to accept foreign tourists starting August 17, 2021. It is still the trial stage, because in March, 2022, the whole tourism (area) in Bali will be opened to foreign tourists,” said the Gianyar district head I Made Mahayastra.
Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, said green tourist destinations that are free of COVID-19 would make tourists, both domestic and foreign, feel safe while vacationing in Bali. On the other hand, those in the tourism industry and the Balinese people will also be safe and comfortable as incoming tourists would be free of COVID-19, he added.
Reporter: Nanien Yuniar/Aria Cindyara
Editor: Suharto, Ine