DestinationsQuarantine scrapped for fully vaxxed while flight connections pick up for the Island of the Gods.

Bali opens up, but tourists are in no rush

Bali is getting ready to welcome foreign visitors again.
Bali is getting ready to welcome foreign visitors again. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Nachosuch

Australian travellers are taking a “wait-and-see” approach to booking their Bali holiday despite fewer entry restrictions and a resumption of some air services from Australia to Denpasar.

Pre-Covid, Aussies flocked to Bali year-round, and their love of the island showed no sign of weakening until the pandemic struck. There were 6.2 million visitors to Bali in 2019, with Australians accounting for more than 1.2 million of that number.

Tom Manwaring, CEO and co-owner of the Express Travel Group, said issues of visas, insurance and health was keeping a lid on demand.

“People are enquiring about package prices, checking out information on the Internet but many – especially families – are being hesitant about firm bookings,” Manwaring added.

He said Bali business will return, although he didn’t expect it to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2023. “Fiji and the South Pacific has been bubbling along with good business, and no doubt some of the people visiting Fiji might have gone to Bali otherwise.”

Bali on Monday welcomed its first foreign tourists under relaxed Covid rules that no longer require arrivals to quarantine. Under a pilot programme, fully vaccinated tourists can skip a mandatory three-day quarantine, though they need to remain on the island for four days. 

Luhut Pandjaitan, the minister overseeing the Covid-19 response in Indonesia, told a news conference that if the Bali pilot programme was successful, all foreign visitors entering Indonesia would no longer be required to quarantine from April 1 or earlier.

Garuda Indonesia relaunched Sydney to Bali flights on 4 March, while Australia’s Jetstar is set to begin flights to Denpasar on 14 March. Once Australians return to Bali, they can expect a warm welcome.

“Sometimes we don’t know what we miss until it’s gone – and the hiatus allows us to appreciate each other even more,” said Bulan Bharata, cluster marketing communications manager, Hyatt Regency Bali and Andaz Bali.

“Travellers visiting Bali may find that some businesses they knew have closed due to Covid. But, on the flip side, there are new businesses that thrived during the pandemic and new restaurants opening up.

“The two-year ‘break’ has sharpened our skills, grounded us, and this added resilience will be beneficial when the island welcomes visitors from all over the world again,” Bharata said.

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