Jakarta – Bali will begin a trial allowing foreigners to enter the island without Covid-19 quarantine on Monday, a week earlier than the original plan, Bali Governor Wayan Koster announced late on Friday.
Foreigners from Asean countries, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States, will also be allowed to apply for a visa on arrival in Bali, Koster said.
The decision marked Indonesia's most lenient international travel policy during the Covid-19 pandemic. For most of the pandemic period, Indonesia has required all foreigners to secure a visa before leaving their origin country.
Koster said the island would welcome all foreigners who had received two doses of vaccine, a negative result of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken before the departure, and proof of a minimum four-day hotel booking in Bali. The foreigners must also take an obligatory PCR test upon arrival and wait at their hotel for the test result.
On the third day, foreign tourists must take another PCR swab test. If the test result is negative, they can travel outside Bali on the fourth day, Koster said.
Minister of Tourism Sandiaga Uno said the trial should bring optimism to tourism and creative economy businesses across Bali and the rest of Indonesia.
"I hope this is a policy that is right on target, has the right benefits, and at the right time. By working together, we can defeat the Covid-19 pandemic and revive the Indonesian economy," Sandiaga said.
Indonesia usually sees 16 million foreign tourists visiting the archipelago a year. That number plunged to 5.6 million in the past two years as the pandemic forced the country to impose strict international travel limitations.
Bali, the country's main tourist attraction, was hit the hardest, seeing its economy contracted by 2,47 percent last year, following a 9,33 percent decline in 2020, despite Indonesia's overall economy has recovered.
The government has been working to control the spread of Covid-19 in Bali to open the island as soon as possible. Today, 100 percent of its population has received complete vaccine doses against Covid-19, one of the highest rates in Indonesia.