The Minister of Economic Coordination stated that the Indonesian government will consider implementing Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL), which would scrap the current quarantine requirement.
“All of the leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed that we need to be more focused on reviving our tourism sector by implementing the VTL program,” said the minister.
For those who are unfamiliar with a VTL, it requires passengers to enter on a specific airline and a specific flight to avoid quarantine.
The official also acknowledged that the “Sandbox” strategy, which is currently being applied in Phuket, Thailand, has been quite successful in attracting more tourists.
On the other hand, Bali reopened its doors on Oct. 14 and it has yet to persuade airlines to even schedule flights to the island due to extremely low demand.
Bali’s Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) has had massive hotel cancelations following Bali’s inflexible 5-day quarantine policy.
Learning that travelers will be watched 24 hours a day by police and hotel security personnel while undergoing quarantine does not really help either.
It is well known in the tourism sector that establishing VTL is a pain in the neck.
Thus, considering that few countries would meet the requirements for VTL, Bali’s Vice Governor revealed yesterday they are working on cutting the standard 5-day quarantine period to only 3 days.
The truth is Thailand and other nearby competitors have already taken away a big portion of the tourism cake.
The minister, for its part, stated that they are aiming to “learn from Thailand” in order to revive their struggling tourism industry.
“Because our competitors abroad [are implementing] zero quarantine [days], this is our consideration for the future,” said the Deputy.
It’s hard to understand why Bali has been so reluctant to permit a broader reopening.
Not only has the island been preparing all entry protocols for a year, but also the secretary of the Covid-19 Task Force, revealed that the hospital occupancy rate has plummeted to zero patients in some areas.
“From a total of 8 quarantine facilities across the region, we only have one asymptomatic Covid-19 patient left while the other facilities are empty.”
As a precaution, the official has instructed hospitals to remain on standby and avoid closing their isolation rooms.