Bali Delays Its Reopening to Tourists Amid Surge in COVID-19 Cases

Bali now records about 200 COVID-19 cases per day.

Travelers hoping to explore Bali this summer will have to wait a little longer as the Indonesian government just delayed the island's reopening amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.

In an interview with Reuters on Monday, Indonesia's tourism minister said the country will wait until cases fall significantly before welcoming international visitors again. Bali's economy, which heavily depends on tourism, has been deeply impacted by the pandemic, but the government is still taking a cautious approach to reopening.

Passengers arrives as Bali's tourism reopen for domestic visitors at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia on July 31 2020
Johanes Christo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

"We were targeting end of July, beginning of August, but we just have to be mindful of where we are in this recent spike [in coronavirus cases]," Indonesia's Minister for Tourism and the Cultural Economy, Sandiaga Uno, told Reuters. "We will be waiting for the situation to be more conducive."

In recent weeks, the number of COVID-19 infections has steadily risen across all of Indonesia, including in Bali, where case numbers have quadrupled from about 50 per day to about 200 daily, according to official data, Reuters reported.

Uno said he wanted to hold off on reopening Bali until the COVID-19 caseload was about 30 or 40 per day. However, there are some lingering questions about the true number of COVID-19 infections in Bali, where testing rates are well below recommendations from the World Health Organization.

In order to help kickstart tourism in Bali and isolate the island from the pandemic, Indonesia now requires domestic travelers to present a negative PCR test before entering. The government has also focused its vaccination efforts on Bali.

Approximately 71% of Balinese people have already received their first vaccine dose, while Uno says the island could reach its goal of full vaccination for 70% of the population by the end of July.

In recent years, Bali has become a hot spot for digital nomads. While Indonesia intends to attract more temporary visitors, it also plans to offer a new visa specifically for remote workers. Under the new proposal, people who own or work for companies outside of Indonesia will be able to stay in the country on a five-year visa, according to Reuters.

"If they earn income within Indonesia they will be taxed, but if it's solely from overseas there will be zero tax," Uno said.

Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles