Will Bali Reopen in July ?

A Growing Acceptance of Future Contagion 

Will Bali Reopen in July

In Bali, frustration and dismay with the prolonged economic devastation resulting from the current global pandemic have prompted the issuance of a “Moral Declaration” by a group assembled under the banner of “Bali Bangkit” (“Bali Arise!).

Bali Bangkit” represents an historically unprecedented unified coalition including almost every major tourism stake holding organization and non-governmental group in Bali (NGO), including:

GIPI, PHRI, ASITA, IHGMA, HILLSI, AMPB, BHA, FORKOMDEWI, PAIKETAN, KRAMA Bali, BASCOMM, SUKSNA Bali, HFLA, GEMA PERDAMAIAN, HPI, HIPMI, IFBEC, Bali MICE Forum, BSWA, ASPERDA, BBPD Badung, HRA Bali, NCPI Bali, BWA, UHA, ICA Bali, IHKA, MASATA Bali, BCC, ISA, and AHLEI Community.

That “Moral Declaration” by “Bangkit Bali” boldly declares:

  1. Full support for reopening Bali’s borders in July 2021 under government-established Cleanliness, Hygiene, Safety, and Environmental Protocols (CHSE) that the coalition insists must now be strictly enforced and managed in terms of any potential risk.
  2. The need for joint implementation, strict enforcement, and consistent supervision of the CHSE Protocolsby all Bali’s tourism industry components.
  3. The readiness of the Island and its tourism industry to accept all penalties and sanctions in connection with any failure to comply with CHSE Protocolsby Hotels, Villas, Restaurants, and other elements of the tourism industry.

Will Bali Reopen in July ? – In the midst of the current very muddled international approach to international travel and the free movement of people, the “Serenity Prayer” quoted above needs to become a mantra under which Bali can march into an uncertain future. This begins by discerning those things with the Island’s Power to change and those things beyond its control and influence.

Will Bali Reopen in July ? – Those things within the power of Bali to control and monitor include:

  • The implementation of health protocols (e.g., masks, physical distancing, hygiene) to reduce the risk of COVID-19‘s Spread,
  • Screen and testing for COVID-19 at all entry ports.
  • The ongoing programs to achieve a population-wide minimum of 70% inoculations in order to achieve “herd immunity.
  • Ensuring quality quarantine and medical care facilities are available in Bali to care for those later identified to be infected with the virus.
  • Introducing digital “tracking systems” to enable ongoing contact with non-immunized people who may need PCR scans after inadvertently coming into contact with people who have recently tested “positive” for COVID-19.

And, those things beyond the power of Bali to control:

  • New outbreaks of COVID-19 around the globe and their corresponding rates of infection.
  • The appearance and international prevalence of new variants of the coronavirus.
  • The emergence of new pandemic threats viewed by scientists as “inevitable” in the future.
  • The ever-changing access and lockdown policy decision of other countries.
  • The financial and operation ability of international airlines to resume sustainable air service to Indonesia and other destinations on their networks as a whole.

It is both sad and somewhat delusional, that many of the strategies currently being pursued in Indonesia in response to COVID-19 are dependent on factors beyond the Country’s ability to control or influence.

Will Bali Reopen in July ? – Dealing with the Future as it comes

Will Bali Reopen in July Monitoring the global reaction to COVID-19 at the moment, many destinations (e.g., the USA, UK, and Europe) focus to a varying degree on CHSE Protocols while gradually reopening their borders, transportation networks, restaurants, entertainment spots, and public places. As a result, tourism and travel are suddenly on the rebound in these locations as “pent-up travel demand” expresses itself in a sudden surge,

But, will COVID-19 infection rates now increase because of the growing relaxation of rules limiting social contact and physical distancing?

The answer is most probably “yes.” 

But faced with a deepening, unprecedented global economic crisis, the public policy emphasis must now shift away from an unsustainable “lockdown” scenario to the more practicable program of monitoring, control, and treatment of the continuing pandemic.

Will Bali Reopen in July ? – The Bali Situation

Similarly, it may now be time for policymakers in Indonesia and Bali to follow developing COVID-19 practice in the USA, Europe and elsewhere by cautiously reopening its borders while focusing all remaining efforts on facilitating a more unrestrained movement of populations.

In truth, acceptance and learning to live with a pandemic and its ever-changing variants will form part of our lives for an unforeseeable future to come and represent, in fact, the only choice Bali and world has left.

Isolation and lockdown are not sustainable over the long term without risking the destruction and dismantling of human society as we know it.

The future is as it is and is unlikely to discernably change in the foreseeable future. Thus, in dealing with health pandemics now and those surely to come, isolation and lockdowns just won’t work.

As suggested by the “Bali Bangkit” coalition, it’s time to open the border and deal with the future – come what may.

 

Will Bali Reopen in July ? – The Bali Governor’s wish list for reopening the island!

Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster attended a limited closed-door meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the National Palace in Jakarta on Monday, 07 June 2021, to discuss strategies for the recovery of Bali’s tourism industry.

The limited roundtable meeting was also attended by the Minister of the State Secretariat, the Cabinet Secretary, the Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, the Minister of Finance, the Governor of Bank Indonesia, and the Chairman of the Financial Services Authority (OJK).

 

Will Bali Reopen in July ? – As reported by Balipost.com, many key topics were reviewed at the Monday meeting, including:

  • Achieving desired levels of public vaccination in Bali. This also automatically includes widespread implementation of health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19; incentives to persuade domestic tourists to visit Bali; the preparation of special tourism corridors for foreign tourists; enlarging the role of the creative economy in Bali; enhancement of Bali’s digital economy; and enlarging exports to reduce Bali’s over-dependence on tourism. At the special cabinet meeting, Governor Koster confirmed that Bali has already received 3 million dosages of COVID-19 Vaccine – a total that is 50% of the calculated total amount required for the entire Island. As of 06 June 2021, the first injection of Vaccine has been given to 1.4 million people in Bali (47% of the targeted total), with the second injection already administered to 659.000 people (22% of the targeted total). Bali eventually needs 6 million injections to achieve a herd immunity level of 70% of the Island’s total population.
  • The Governor told the meeting that Bali is experiencing a declining rate of new infections, with less than 50 new cases reported each day. Meanwhile, “cure rates” are also improving, with more than 95% recovering from the virus, a figure higher than the national average of 91%. Bali’s fatality rate of confirmed cases is 3.71% – a figure that is improving although somewhat higher than the national average of 2.78%. In Bali, that translates to less than five new deaths each day. Active cases handled by hospitals are also on the decline, with 473 patients currently under care, whether in hospitals or quarantine care.
  • The Governor underlined that Bali still needs 3 million more dosages of COVID-19 Vaccine to achieve the target of 6 million vaccinations.
  • Bali’s Governor underlined that Bali’s economy and its dominant tourism economy had suffered heavily due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bali’s economy contracted by 9.3% in 2020 and another 9.3% during Q1 or 2021. The Governor told the national leaders that the condition of Bali’s economy must be remedied quickly to prevent a further decline in public welfare.
  • Bali’s Governor asked the Government’s support to increase the number of national and international meetings held on the Island while, at the same time, gradually reopening the Island’s borders to international tourists beginning in July 2021.
  • The Governor requested that current grants to the tourism sector be continued to help provincial and regencies increase their dwindling tax revenues.
  • Government support is also sought to extend the tenor of loans owed by tourism operators until corporate cash flows improve.
  • The Governor called for soft loans to be made available to Bali’s tourism sector.

Governor Koster reports that his requests delivered to the Central Government were generally well-received by national leaders in Jakarta. The President subsequently directed his cabinet to move ahead with implementing steps.

 

Will Bali Reopen in July ?

Will Bali Reopen in July

The Sundays Beach Club in Bali. Supplied by Subject.

After over a year without international tourists, Bali could be reopening its border very soon. During his weekly press conference held Monday, 07 June 2021, Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, emphasized that he continues to advance his plans to establish between Indonesia and selected international destinations.

Each travel pathway will be organized under a separate Travel Corridor Arrangement (TCA) with each respective destination. These arrangement protocols will ensure that all the needed precautions are in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Quoted by Kompas.com, Sandiaga said: “To welcome foreign tourists to Bali when the borders are reopened, we continue the preparations while carefully examining the latest data. The implementation of Travel Corridor Arrangements (TCA) requires careful preparations, even though the President is targeting the commencement of TCA for July.”

Sandiaga said the uncertain and ever-changing situation surrounding COVID-19 remains the main obstacle to reopening Indonesia to tourism. The Minister confided that Indonesia could not begin to rely again on foreign tourism until 2024. Continuing, Sandiaga said that the Government is only projecting 1.53 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2021.

In the meantime, Indonesia is focusing on domestic tourism.

The rules and regulations for the proposed TCA have yet to be finalized but will encompass areas that include PCR testing, proof of vaccination, and specific zones designated for travel. In Bali, Sanur, Ubud, and Nusa Dua have been designated as “green zones” and open to tourist activities.

 

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Will Bali Reopen in July ?