Bali shakes off coronavirus slumber, to let tourists in by October


Bali, Indonesia’s popular tropical holiday island, could reopen to tourists in October. The island is today seen as a model by Indonesian authorities in tackling the pandemic, and hence the government deems it fit for reopening.

The virus was curbed in the region with the help of about 1,500 traditional village committees. The island has a population of 4.2 million and is heavily dependent on tourism for its revenues. It was said that Bali may end up being a coronavirus hotspot with its large number of foreign visitors, but the island effectively controlled the outbreak.

As of Friday, Bali had reported 343 coronavirus cases and four deaths, a much lower fatality rate compared with 16,496 cases and 1,076 deaths in the whole archipelago, according to a Reuters report.

If the infection curve continued to improve, the tourism ministry is looking to revitalise destinations and do promotional work for some parts of the country, including Bali, between June and October, Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani, secretary of the ministry, said in the statement.

Partial reopening of those areas, which also include the city of Yogyakarta and Riau islands province, may begin in October, she said.

Bali’s economy depends largely on visitors. Its gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 1.14% year-on-year in January-March, compared with a 2.97% GDP expansion nationally.

Foreign tourist arrivals into Indonesia plunged more than 60% in March, compared to the same month last year, with Chinese arrivals sliding more than 97%.