The resort island of Bali welcomed its first foreign visitors on Monday, thanks to reduced coronavirus rules that no longer require arrivals to be quarantined, part of a larger loosening of restrictions in the Southeast Asian country as infections declined.
The news: Bali attracted 6.2 million foreign visitors in 2019, the year before COVID-19 struck, thanks to its surfing, temples, waterfalls, and nightlife. However, since Bali opened up to foreign tourists last October, barely a trickle of visitors has returned, deterred by the requirement for quarantine and other rules.
- Fully vaccinated guests can now escape the mandatory three-day quarantine, albeit they must still stay on the island for four days.
- With tourism accounting for more than half of Bali’s GDP, many residents have been yearning for a speedier return of visitors, especially as some neighbouring countries moved more quickly.
- For foreign tourists, Thailand and the Philippines already have similar quarantine-free programmes in place.
Luhut Pandjaitan, the minister in charge of the COVID-19 response in Java and Bali, said at a press conference on Monday that if the Bali pilot programme goes well, all foreign visitors entering Indonesia will no longer be required to quarantine beginning April 1 or sooner.