Bali sets up ‘green zones’ as it braces to welcome tourists back – here’s what it means for Aussies desperate to visit the holiday island
- Bali establishing ‘green zones’ where international tourists could freely visit
- Move coincides with lower Covid case numbers and Indonesia vaccine rollout
- Non-essential international travel is banned for Australians since March 2020
- While there is no set date to lift this ban, travel bubbles have been discussed
Australian tourists could soon be welcomed back to Bali as the popular holiday destination plans ‘green zones’ open to travel on the island.
The government and health authorities are formulating areas where both domestic and foreign tourists will be able to holiday, Bali governor Wayan Koster said on Tuesday.
Other Indonesian ministers have also brought up the prospect of the designated free-travel areas in some parts of the island – specifically mentioning Nusa Dua, Ubud, Kuta, and Nusa Penida.
A once bustling five-star resort in Bali is now unrecognisable as the Covid-19 pandemic forces tourists out of the island and luxury hotels are left abandoned (pictured Padma Resort in Legian on New Year’s Eve)
The Padma Resort in Legian, on the island’s west coast, stretches more than 6 hectares, boasts five swimming pools, multiple restaurants and overlooks the beach but is sitting empty (pictured)
The move appears to be prompted by declining coronavirus case numbers along with the beginning of the Southeast Asian nation’s vaccine rollout.
On Tuesday, Indonesia launched a drive-thru vaccination campaign targeting thousands of hospitality workers who would be on the front lines as the tourism-reliant country attempts to restart it’s economy.
The program aims to inoculate around 5,000 workers in hospitality and ride-sharing services by the end of March.
‘The Covid-19 vaccine is paramount for Indonesia’s tourism industry recovery,’ Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said.
‘The availability of vaccines continues to be a source of hope for people to return to normalcy and boost confidence that they can travel safely.’
Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, plans to inoculate more than 180 million of its nearly 270 million people.
Travellers are seen enjoying a dip in the pool at the Padma Resort on Bali’s west coast before coronavirus hit
Bali has kicked off a drive-thru vaccination campaign, targeting its hospitality workers on Tuesday (pictured)
In August 2020, Bali closed the door to foreign tourists amid coronavirus concerns, battering its key tourism sector.
The island’s five-star hotels were deserted and normally crowded beaches empty of tourists.
Indonesia’s Institute for Development of Economics and Finance suggested the country adopt a ‘double screening’ method for accepting international tourists.
The process would involve visitors needing to present an official Covid-19-free letter obtained before departure and then be subjected to testing upon arrival.
Australia banned international travel in March 2020, months before Indonesia.
Tourists flights out of the country are prohibited and citizens returning from overseas are required to go through two weeks of hotel quarantine at their own expense.
While Australia’s interstate borders finally look to be remaining consistently open after intermittent closures in 2020, international travel will take longer to ramp up.
Australian travellers could soon be welcomed back to Bali with the island establishing ‘green zones’ (pictured: a flight passenger at Sydney airport in 2020)
According to Department of Health secretary Brendan Murphy, most foreign travel will likely continue to remain off the table for much of 2021.
‘I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions… Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,’ he told the ABC on Tuesday.
Some airlines such as Qantas are planning to resume international flights in October 2021 in line with the estimate of widespread vaccination.
However, the possibility of travel bubbles with certain nations has been discussed by the government.
Fiji, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vanuatu, and New Zealand have been specifically mentioned but there are no concrete plans to open travel as of early March.