Despite reopening for direct international flights from 19 countries on October 14, no foreign or Indonesian airline has resumed operations in Bali.
Unstable quarantine periods, visa policies, and insurance requirements are frequently highlighted as the main factors preventing international visitors from returning.
“So far there have been no regular international flights scheduled to arrive in Bali. So no passengers on direct commercial international flights have entered [the province],” Jamaruli Manihuruk, an officer who oversees immigration affairs, confirmed on Jan. 7.
Earlier this week, Indonesia decided to reduce its quarantine period for both international and national citizens.
However, spending 7 days instead of 10 under police supervision at a government-approved hotel does not seem to be enough to attract anyone to its shores, especially as other Southeast Asian countries have reopened with fewer restrictions.
At the other end, Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno attributes the country’s low international tourist numbers to a worldwide aversion to travel, with Europeans delaying vacation plans until more favorable travel policies are in place.
Caught in the middle and suffering the most dramatic economic consequences are local tourism operators who have frequently criticized Indonesia’s strict travel restrictions.
Luckily, Bali has started to see a steady influx of domestic tourists, which is slowly but steadily restoring the tourism business.
A few overseas tourists have also returned via Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport. There have also been chartered flights landing in Bali from other countries.
Obviously, this pales in comparison to the 6 million visitors who visited Bali before the pandemic.
“We are very grateful for the domestic tourist arrivals. In December, an average of 15,000 domestic tourists entered the island every day. With limited international destinations and foreign travel restrictions still in place, Bali remains the main destination for domestic tourists,” said Bali Tourism Board chairman, Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana.
Adnyana also stated that the situation would be reviewed by industry players and the government based on the global development of the omicron variant.
“If the situation looks good, we hope the number of days for mandatory quarantine upon arrival will be shortened, and regulations about international flights to Bali will be revised,” he added.