The Indonesian island of Bali was reopened to foreign visitors on Thursday, 18 months after the border was closed, but without international flights.
The island has also boosted tourism, and long-term closures have left many people without jobs and businesses, including hotels and restaurants.
Ngurah Rai International Airport on the island has made efforts to prepare for the return of tourists but does not expect much of what will happen soon.
“There is currently no list,” said Prophet Taufan Yudhistira, on international flights. In the absence of flights, visitors from overseas will need to fly via Jakarta.
The government is keen to revive the tourism industry in Bali after a significant reduction in coronavirus cases since July, when Indonesia was at the peak of COVID-19 in Asia.
But many of the re-openings, such as visa requirements and the countries in which they work, have been meaningless so far.
The management of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali conducted a pilgrimage to international travelers, before the reopening of international tourism operations, which kicks off on October 14, 2021. #JakartaMoversandShakers pic.twitter.com/8KJB7khBra
– Metro Globe Network (@mglobenetwork) August 13, 2021
Indonesia only confirmed 19 eligible countries in its statement Wednesday, including China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, as well as several countries from Western Europe and the Middle East.
The move follows the reopening of Thailand which began in July with great excitement, with the Samui and Phuket islands receiving vaccinated visitors from several countries, with hundreds in the opening days.
Vietnam is planning to receive foreign visitors to its island of Phu Quoc next month. With 73% of tourists already vaccinated, the island of Boracay in the Philippines is also planning to reopen visitors.
But some Indonesian tourism agents say Bali’s idea of reopening is not in line with his wishes.
I Putu Astawa from the Bali Tourism Agency said the hotel’s accommodation is limited.
“Not because the time is sudden,” he said when asked about the rise in reservation. “They need time to deal with visas and flights.”
However, the country’s flag bearer, Garuda Indonesia, announced last week that it wanted to increase the number of flights between Jakarta and Bali, citing the number of tourists.
He also wants visitors to Bali to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Indonesia has also announced a first five days of solitary confinement, which some countries have decided to abstain.
“We are ready to receive visitors to Bali, but that does not mean that all tourists leave for Bali by accident,” said Ida Bagus Purwa Sidemen, chief of the island’s hotel and restaurant organization.
“At the very beginning, at the end of the year we can see if things are going well.”
A video released on the President’s high school YouTube video to register for reopening on Thursday, Bali I Wayan Koster, the re-launch of tourism, is important on the island.
“It is very important for the tourism industry to recover because 54% of Bali’s economy depends on the tourism sector,” he said.