A recent spike in Covid cases may have delayed Bali's July reopening indefinitely, but Indonesia has a backup plan in the works.
Indonesia's tourism sector is now preparing vaccine tourism packages for domestic travellers bound for Bali, with the possibility of offering tours to foreigners once the province reopens to international arrivals.
The vaccine tourism plan was hatched by Indonesia President Joko Widodo himself, says tourism and creative economy minister Sandiaga Uno.
“We have determined that for now it is domestic tourists who are the main target, but when Bali reopens, of course we can also open it to foreign tourists within the framework of independent vaccinations, so they do not detract from the vaccine allocations provided free to the people of Indonesia.”
According to Uno, there is already great interest among Indonesians to participate in vaccine tourism programmes overseas.
“Why should you have to fly all the way over there? Why not just fly to Bali? We offer a high quality destination while also providing vaccines.”
Bali’s governor, I Wayan Koster, together with Bali tourism board chair, Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, have both expressed their readiness to implement the vaccine tourism plan.
A member of the National Vaccine Tourism team, Erwin Soerjadi, said the government and the travel sector are awaiting the best time to roll out the programme safety and bolster Bali's economy.
Meanwhile, travel agencies have already started their own vaccine tourism packages in Bali.
At TX Travel, these 14D/13N packages will start at 4.1 million rupiah (USD283) per person, including two doses of the Sinovac vaccine but excluding airfares, said president director Anton Thedy.
Tourists will be required to stay at approved hotels with the Cleanliness, Health, Safety and Environment (CHSE) label.
Thedy added that his agency had deployed 256 branch offices and 12,000 resellers throughout Indonesia to promote the packages.
"The most important point of the vaccine tours is how to increase length of stay,” said Thedy, from a 2019 average of 2.21 days for locals, and 2.99 days for foreign travellers.