You Might Be Able To Visit Bali On Holiday Sooner Than You Thought
The Indonesian tourism ministry says it plans to reopen the tropical island of Bali to tourists in October due to its success in managing cases of COVID-19.
The Island paradise of Bali has confronted fewer cases of coronavirus than the rest of Indonesia.
As of Friday, it had reported 343 coronavirus cases and four deaths. The whole archipelago has recorded 16,496 cases and 1,076 deaths.
The tourism ministry said on Friday that if the curve continued to flatten, it could open some destinations for tourists, including Bali, between June and October.
There could be a partial reopening of Bali, Yogyakarta and the Riau Islands province in October, according to Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani, secretary of the tourism ministry.
Indonesia has been in lockdown since March, with only Indonesian citizens, diplomats and family members able to enter the country.
The shutdown of tourism has devastated Bali, with the island's economy heavily reliant on visitors.
Bali's gross domestic product contracted 1.14 per cent on-year in January-March, compared with a 2.97 per cent GDP expansion nationally.
Foreign tourist arrivals into Indonesia plunged more than 60 per cent in March, compared to the year earlier, with Chinese arrivals sliding more than 97 per cent.
Ross Taylor, president of The Indonesia Institute, claims Bali's economy has "essentially already collapsed".
“People don’t have a social safety net like we do in Australia - the amount of savings for Balinese is usually about one to two weeks,” he told The West Australian newspaper.
“There's families there actually starving - it’s catastrophic the economic fallout for a disease that appears not to be impacting as yet on the island.”
Bali's plans to reopen comes as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have developed the first travel bubble within the European Union.
In a bid to bolster the economies of the Baltic nations, citizens and residents can now travel freely within the region but all others must self-isolate for two weeks.
Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand have discussed the creation of a trans-Tasman bubble between the two countries before opening their borders to other nations.
Australia's international borders are expected to remain shut until at least the end of the year, if not until next year.
The country's Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy told a Senate inquiry on Wednesday there is “no clear road map” out of the international lockdown.
“I cannot see border measures (being lifted), they will be one of the last things to go,” Professor Murphy said.
“I have no vision at the moment on the current international scene where international border measures of some very strong vigour won’t be necessary.”
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham urged people to "see Australia first" and travel locally as restrictions are eased.
"My message is now is the time when you can dream and plan but not execute those plans," he said last month.