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Bali eases quarantine, visa rules in re-opening push

Published Mar 08, 2022 9:55 am

Bali scrapped quarantine for vaccinated tourists from more than 20 countries and reintroduced visas on arrival as the Indonesian holiday island pushes ahead with re-opening after two years of Covid curbs.

The loosening comes as a wave of Omicron infections wanes across the Southeast Asian archipelago and after some international airlines resumed direct flights in recent weeks.

"President Joko Widodo has agreed to trial a no-quarantine policy for overseas travelers to Bali starting on March 7," maritime affairs and investment minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said in a briefing.

Visitors will be exempt from isolation if double-jabbed and holding a negative PCR test and will have to show proof of a four-day hotel booking.

Visas on arrival were suspended two years ago when the pandemic first hit Indonesia but will again be available to travelers from 23 nations including Australia, the United States, Britain, Japan, and France.

"If this trial succeeds, we will implement a quarantine-free policy to travelers from all countries by April 1 or even earlier," the minister added.

Bali governor Wayan Koster said the reforms were critical to reviving the tourism sector, which used to be the island's largest source of income.

Almost 6.3 million foreign tourists visited the Hindu-majority island in 2019 but numbers plummeted as Indonesia closed its borders to protect itself from the virus.

"We have to offer competitive traveling rules for overseas tourists as other countries have opened their tourism sector earlier," Koster said.

"Bali's tourism has been stuck for two years and it is the time for recovery."

The latest Omicron-fuelled wave of infections peaked last month at around 64,000 daily cases but the number has since dipped significantly to about 25,000 on Sunday, Mar. 6.

International flights are now operating again with daily services from Singapore and routes also available between Australia. (AFP)