The discovery of new COVID-19 variants in Bali is not deterring officials from their target of reopening to foreign tourists in July, the deputy governor said.
“We have yet to shift the target, there’s still a few months to go,” Bali deputy governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, or Cok Ace, said.
“A few days ago I was with [Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin] and we are still holding on to our focus for [reopening in] July.”
Back in March, Indonesian officials announced plans for a travel corridor program that could see foreign tourists visiting Bali by the middle of this year, with President Joko Widodo emphasizing that the COVID-19 pandemic must be under control for that to happen.
The proposed “travel corridor arrangement” will be offered to countries that are able to contain the spread of the coronavirus, have high vaccination rates, and could offer reciprocal benefits, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno previously said.
Indonesia is now reconsidering the countries it will be working with now that India and Singapore are facing new outbreaks of the coronavirus, Cok Ace said.
“We can still hope for China, in terms of quantity, as they contributed quite a large [amount of visitors] in previous years,” he added.
With nearly 1.2 million Chinese travelers in 2019, they became the second largest group of foreign tourists visiting Bali, just slightly behind Australian visitors, though Chinese tourists held the top spot for several years prior.