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Bali is ready to get back in business with visas on arrival and no quarantine



Bali is ready to get back in business with visas on arrival and no quarantine (1)

Travellers from 23 countries including Australia can once again get a visa on arrival in Bali after the Indonesian government answered supplications from a tourist industry frantic to return to business.

The declaration comes after Garuda reconnected Australia to the holiday mecca on Friday with what will be a weekly Sydney-Bali service. The Indonesian airline is the first to continue non-stop flights between Australian cities and Bali. Jetstar is expected to follow next week, and Qantas will recommence Denpasar flights from Melbourne on April 14 and Sydney on April 15.

Visas on arrival were the last item on the tourist industry’s wish list. Under the old rule, tourists needed to observe a sponsor for a visitor visa, which cost around 3.5 million rupiahs ($329). The new visas will cost only 500,000 rupiahs ($47).

After months of moving guidelines on quarantine, the central government recently declared that from this week fully vaccinated travellers never again need to quarantine.

Komang Artana, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Hotel Manager Association, said the high cost of the guest visa had brought about some “mafia-like” practices. Mr. Komang said the new visas would be considerably more straightforward and the process would be examined later today in a stakeholder meeting with the Governor of Bali and his staff.

Marcel Kloet, general manager of the St Regis Bali Resort, said he and his team were glad by the return of visas on arrival and the elimination of quarantine for the people who qualify. “We look forward to Bali once again being a favourite international tourism destination, which will mean local communities can rebuild their lives and businesses,” Mr. Kloet said.

A game-changer

A few 6.3 million tourists visited Bali in 2019, including 1.23 million Australians and 1.19 million Chinese. The island’s economy was virtually cleared out when borders were closed in light of the pandemic, with GDP withdrawing 9.3 percent in 2020. Last year only one international flight landed and just 16 foreign traveller arrivals were recorded.

Ross Taylor, the Perth-based president of the Indonesia Institute, said the visa decision was a game-changer.

“We expect the initial uptake of flights to Bali will be a little slow as people are still hesitant. But as the Australian winter approaches, new flights are introduced and Bali enters its dry season, the attraction of balmy nights sitting on the beach with a Bintang will prove too much for many Aussies. By July, we expect a strong rebound,” Mr. Taylor said.

Notwithstanding Australians, travellers from the United States, New Zealand, the UK, Italy, Germany, and all ASEAN countries are among the people who qualify for the new visa on arrival.

All tourists are expected to be fully vaccinated and to take a PCR test before getting onto the plane to Bali. They likewise need to do a test on arrival. Assuming that test is positive, guests will in any case be permitted to enter however should quarantine for four nights, which is the reason a hotel booking is likewise required.

Travel insurance including $US25,000 COVID-19 coverage is mandatory.

Those wishing to travel to different parts of Indonesia will be free to do as such assuming that a day three PCR test is negative.

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