The COVID-19 pandemic has evidently changed different aspects of our lives and forced us into a ‘new normal’ indefinitely. It has also put a halt on some of our plans, including all our travels that we had planned for this year and the next. With many international borders still closed, it’s almost impossible for us to travel outside of our cities during this time.
But here’s some good news, finally. For those itching to head to the beach to catch a few waves or simply bask in the sun, Bali is planning on reopening their borders for international tourists this September.
According to Mr I. Putu Astawa, head of Bali’s tourism agency, they have set a goal of reopening its borders to international travellers on 11 September 2020 but this is still “subject to approval from the national government”.
In early July, Bali began their three stages of reopening by slowly opening tourism sites for their residents, followed by allowing local tourists from other parts of Indonesia to enter since 31 July 2020. If overseas tourists are permitted to enter in September 2020 by the national government, this would be their third phase of reopening.
This comes after the announcement in May by the Indonesian Tourism Ministry of their plans to launch a promotional campaign to revive and breathe new life into major destinations in the country. This includes the cultural capital of Yogyakarta, the exotic and understated Riau Islands, and of course, Bali.
Tourism is at the heart of what keeps the economy of Bali going with its overseas visitors in the millions each year. In 2019 alone, there were 6.3 million international tourist arrivals, making Bali the most popular destination for tourists in Indonesia.
Bali is absolutely loved by many for a plethora of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is the abundance of pristine beaches on the Island. From popular sights such as Kuta and Canggu beach to more remote areas that are only known by the locals, each beach in Bali has its own distinct charm. Whether you’re looking for a beach to jump off of cliffs, to swim in the crystal clear waters, or just lounge in the sand, you’ll end up finding one that you love. Or perhaps, falling in love with each one you visit.
Besides their lush white-sand beaches, Bali is also considered one of the best surf destinations in the entire world with at least 60 surf spots. Veteran surfers and beginners who are looking to learn the water sport never fail to turn to Bali as their go-to playground. The Island boasts many world-class surf breaks and perfect waves all year round, which always keeps surfers coming back for more.
Above all of that, visitors love the Balinese hospitality and culture that is deeply engraved in every corner of the Island, from their people, their food and its natural beauty. Most people who have visited Bali agree that the locals are incredibly friendly and will make anyone feel right at home.
In order to prevent imported transmissions of the virus, visitors are required to be tested negative for COVID-19 before their scheduled trip and need to have additional documentation.
With the pandemic gravely affecting the tourism industry in Indonesia, many locals in Bali have also suffered. With no certainty on when this will end until there is a vaccine for COVID-19, there is a need to reopen the borders for tourism activities to keep the economy running.
Despite finally reopening for tourism, Bali Governor I Wayan Koster mentioned that they may have to close certain areas of the Island if ever inspections spike again. The local government has established several guidelines for travellers coming from abroad that include wearing masks and social distancing, and seek their cooperation during their stay in Bali.
If we want to enjoy our visit to the ‘Island of the Gods’ to the fullest, let’s do our part to practise the guidelines set in place to keep ourselves and everyone around us safe. But as much as possible, steer clear from non-essential travel if you can. Let us wait out the storm and travel once we’re finally in the clear.