DestinationsSatisfied with Bali's health and safety protocols, UNWTO declares the island could be reopening soon.

Is Bali on track for Christmas 2020 opening?

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The Island of the Gods has seen a jump in flights by more than 50% after opening to domestic tourism some four months back.
The Island of the Gods has seen a jump in flights by more than 50% after opening to domestic tourism some four months back. Photo Credit: Wonderful Indonesia

Bali is on track for a much-anticipated open to international tourism — and that might come as soon as Christmas this year, according to The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) following a visit to the Indonesian destination last week.

The UNWTO delegation, led by the Asia and Pacific director Harry Hwang, visited Bali for an on-site assessment of the health and safety measures implemented by the Indonesian government and the Bali administration to prepare the reopening of the island for international tourists.

The UN body found the safety standards and protocol to be "excellent", Hwang told reporters while in Nusu Dua on 10 December. "You guys are ready to open for tourism soon, or next year. I wouldn't be surprised if the government announced that Bali is open before Christmas."

"I hope our collaboration with the government of Indonesia can be a good example that neighbouring countries, other countries in Asia, can learn (from)," according to a report from The Straits Times.

On the ground, MoTCE has reinforced the Cleanliness, Health, Safety, and Environmental Sustainability (CHSE) protocols as part of IndonesiaCare, as international flights await to reopen.

"These protocols ensure a smooth travel experience, while prioritising the health and safety for all domestic and global visitors who are coming to Bali. We believe that the tourism and creative economy sector can return to productivity, but most importantly remain safe from Covid-19," said MoTCE's director of communication, Agustini Rahayu.

The new protocols include regular disinfectant procedures, safe physical distancing, and temperature checking at every relevant venue, including pick up and transfer services. Before entering Bali, visitors are required to present a negative swab test result and provide a QR-code for verification by a Ministry of Health officer at immigration stations.

The CHSE protocols have also tapped on digital services to minimise physical contact throughout the airport exit experience and upon arrival at their accommodation. Visitors' baggage will also be disinfected. For further assurance, every place, destination, or any tourism businesses that has passed the CHSE's assessment will earn an official certified sign of IndonesiaCare.

According to state-owned airport operator, PT Angkasa Pura I, the Island of the Gods has seen a jump in flights by more than 50% after opening to domestic tourism some four months back. Compared to 2019, tourism had dropped by 12% in 3Q this year.

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