Bali remains closed to international tourism, but local authorities have hinted at a new “green zone” within the island to welcome back travelers from abroad.
Bali “Green Zone” Proposed By Governor
During a virtual press conference on Monday, Bali Governor Wayan Koster laid out plans for a new safe area within Bali that would allow the island to re-open to tourism in lower risk areas.
“Myself and the Health Ministry agreed to open the green zone area, so both domestic and international travelers will be only allowed to visit these COVID-19 free areas.”
Indonesian Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno added:
“After observing the Covid-19 cases in the last several weeks in Bali, I think it’s time for us to start reopening our border one step at a time for international visitors with strict prevention protocols in place.”
Uno has been operating his office from Bali for the last two months, noting that tourism is critical to the island’s economy. Per the Bali Sun, he further indicated that the potential green zone could include:
- Nusa Dua
- Nusa Penida
The announcement comes as Bali struggles to vaccinate its residents, particularly workers in the tourism sector. Despite Indonesian government efforts to convince citizens of the safety and efficacy of the virus, resistance remains, with many skeptical of the side effects.
A government official from the Ministry of Maritime and Investment reiterated this point:
“I urge to all the people in Bali, especially in the tourism sector to stop worrying about the side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine, as the government has ensured that the vaccine is safe to be injected.”
Bali is using the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine and expects to vaccinate 600,000 by July (with a population of over 4 million). The vaccination plan calls for vaccinating up to 70% of residents by the end of the year.
While the prospect of Bali re-opening is exciting, especially with a new Andaz in Sanur (pictured above) opening on April 1st, we’ve been repeatedly teased before with hints of opening only to see the government pull back. Realistically, I would not expect borders to re-open for 3-4 months at the earliest.