Bali, Indonesia's popular tourist destination, reopened to foreign visitors on Thursday after an 18-month closure because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the island is still missing one critical component: international flights.
Bali, whose economy is heavily dependent on tourism, is slated to reopen its doors on Thursday, and though the island's Ngurah Rai international airport has conducted simulations in preparation for travelers' return, officials do not anticipate many visitors to return anytime soon.
There is no set schedule at this time, according to Taufan Yudhistira, a representative for the airport.
As a result of Indonesia's strict immigration policies during the global health crisis, the island has been deserted, with hotels, shops, and other businesses all closing their doors.
Bali's local officials are eager to resuscitate the island's battered tourism business as a result of a dramatic decline in new coronavirus infections since July, when Indonesia was Asia's COVID-19 epicenter, according to the local media.
However, the specifics of the reopening, such as visa restrictions and which nations will be eligible, have so far remained unclear.
On Wednesday night, Indonesia released a statement in which it only confirmed the 19 nations that were qualified to enter the country. These countries include India, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea, as well as other nations from Western Europe and the Arabian Gulf.
With considerable enthusiasm, Thailand launched its carefully planned reopening last month on the islands of Samui and Phuket. The islands welcomed vaccinated tourists from a wide range of countries, with hundreds of visitors in each island on the first few days.
The island of Phu Quoc, off the coast of Vietnam, will open its doors to visitors next month.
Putu Astawa, a representative from the Bali tourism office, said there were few hotel reservations at the moment.
When asked if there had been an increase in bookings, he responded, "Not yet because the timing is so sudden." They require additional time to arrange visas and flights."
In addition to the COVID-19 vaccination, Indonesia has mandated that tourists to Bali spend their first five days in quarantine, a measure that competing tourism sectors are phasing out.