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Indonesian Bali is reopening to tourists, but not Australia and Singapore.

The festive island of Bali reopened to tourists from select countries on Thursday in an approach that Indonesian authorities called “small steps” to resume international travel.

Indonesia closed its borders to foreign travelers about 18 months ago.

Vaccinated tourists from 19 countries, including China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, as well as parts of Western Europe and the Persian Gulf, can now travel to Bali and the Riau Islands in Indonesia. Travelers are quarantined for five days and tested for Covid-19.

The plans are considered a milestone for tourism-dependent islands in this Southeast Asian country that have been suppressed by ongoing travel restrictions. However, several major feeder markets for foreign tourism, including Market number 1 in Bali Australia and neighboring Singapore have been delisted.

Negotiations with Singapore and Australia continue

Speaking Thursday on CNBC, Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno said the current policy is based on scientific evidence and recommendations from a group of epidemiologists. He added that the list will be expanded as soon as data from additional markets confirms it.

We want to make sure it doesn’t stop and go.

Sandiaga Uno

Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia

Competition with non-quarantine destinations

The partial discovery of Indonesia comes as neighboring countries including Thailand, Singapore and some regions of Vietnam welcome vaccinated tourists from some countries without quarantine.

Indonesia, caught up in a sluggish quarantine approach that led to a spike in Covid-19 cases in July, is taking a more cautious approach. They also have a reason. The country is preparing to host the G-20 summit in Bali in 2022.

“It will be a purely scientific approach to ensure that this process is smooth over the next 18 months as we are hosting G20 events here,” Uno said.

People visit Seminyak on the resort island of Bali in Indonesia on January 5, 2021.

Sonny Tumbelaka | AFP | Getty Images

In addition to the quarantine, which Uno said will be revised over time, the islands are introducing new security measures such as hotel certifications and vaccine boosters.

“We are doing our best for Bali to prioritize ensuring that the entire island is 100% booster vaccinated … in the first quarter of next year,” he said.

Authorities hope the new measures will help revitalize Indonesia’s tourism industry, which accounts for about 4% of the country’s gross domestic product. But Uno acknowledged that it may take time to reach pre-pandemic targets, and visitors are likely to opt for less frequent but longer stays in the near future.


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