Time for Bali to End Quarantine?

Leaders in Bali’s tourism industry and student activists in Bali are joining forces to persuade the Indonesian government to eliminate quarantine requirements for foreign visitors entering Bali for a holiday.

Quoted by NusaBali.com, the chairman of the Yasa Putra Sedana Foundation, Dewa Ngakan Rai Budiasa, on Thursday, 18 November 2021, urged the government to end the quarantine for foreign tourists coming to Bali. Meanwhile, members of the National Movement of Indonesian University Students (GMNI) have joined the call for an end to the COVID-19 quarantine.

Rai Budiasa said many tourists had canceled holiday plans for Bali due to the continuing quarantine requirement, choosing instead to travel to competing destinations with no quarantine requirements. “We, of the Yasa Putra Sedana Foundation – Payangan Culture Center were scheduled to receive a group from Paris in December 2021. But they have canceled their booking. One of the (main) reasons was the quarantine. They are traveling instead to Cambodia. The quarantine has made the cost of their trip expensive,” he said.

And they find it difficult. Many European tourists have turned to other countries, not only from France,” said the man who manages the Barong Art Performance Center in Melinggih Kelod Village, Payangan District Gianyar Regency, which is often visited by European tourists,

Commenting further, Budiasa said changes in the quarantine period, reducing to only one day and down from the current three days, have been made to the Central Government in Jakarta, even though a one-day quarantine would still be an obstacle to Bali tourism. Budiasa, who once worked at the Indonesian Embassy in Germany, added: “Our tourism has been growing for a long time. As a result, many of the tourism sub-sectors in Bali are unable to recover.”

“The government’s rules are based on the good intention of controlling the transmission of Covid-19. But policies must also take into account the long-standing negative economic impact of the pandemic,” said Budiasa.

The chairman of GMNI for Denpasar, I Putu Chandra Riantara, published a release on Thursday, 18 November 2021, stating the government must reevaluate the requirements for foreign tourists entering Bali. He said that despite the reopening of Bali’s Airport to selected foreign tourists on 14 October 2021, foreign tourists are not coming to Bali because of the continuing quarantine. Adding: “We respectfully request to the Central Government that they hear the voices of the people of Bali. Bali has been declared open to foreign tourists for more than a month, but no foreign travelers are coming. Our enjoyment has been short-lived. We were excited to hear that the airport is open to foreign tourists, but nobody wants to come. We see that the Economy of Bali is devastatingly still minus.”

Riantara said the students of GMNI support Bali’s Governor, who has asked Jakarta to remove the quarantine requirement for foreign visitors traveling to the Island. Continuing, Riantara commented: “In addition, the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR-RI), the FDIP Political faction, and the DPR delegate from Bali I Nyoman Partha have all taken the concrete step of writing directly to the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.”

Chandra closed his comments by asking the Central Government to respond to the public’s aspirations and show empathy for the people of Bali who are unable to rise from the currently devastated economy. “We appreciate that the Central Government opened Bali to foreign tourists on 14 October 2021, but we will be even more appreciative and proud if the Central Government eases the requirements for foreign tourists who have tested negative for COVID-19. There’s no need for these people to quarantine, especially when they have already been fully vaccinated with a negative RT-PCR Test during the departure process for Indonesia. These foreign tourists are already very safe,” said Chandra. 

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