Bali tourism operators get safety nod prior to reopening

As Bali prepares to welcome domestic tourists back, tourism players in the destination are required by authorities to obtain health and safety accreditation, as part of efforts to regain traveller confidence.

According to Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, vice governor of Bali, the Bali administration plans to reopen the island’s tourism facilities to local Bali residents on July 9, followed by Indonesian travellers on July 31.

Bali ramps up safety measures ahead of domestic travellers’ return; tourists at Seminyak Beach in Bali pictured 

Prior to resumption of business, all tourism facilities, including hotels, restaurants, attractions, transports, and travel agencies, have to obtain certification to ensure compliance with health and hygiene protocols, he said in a statement on June 29.

A circular rolled out by Bali Tourism Agency on June 25 stipulates that tourism players looking to obtain a health and safety certification to resume operations must meet the following requirements: implementing a cashless payment system, providing hand sanitisers and thermo guns, checking the temperature of staff and visitors, declining visitors without a mask, and providing physical distancing markers.

The certification initially also required travel-related companies to conduct rapid tests for all staff on the company’s dime, but was scrapped following outcry from industry players.

Wisnu Arimbawa, managing director of Good Day Tour, said: “The fact that a rapid test costs at least 250,000 rupiah (US$17) for one person and the result would be valid for a maximum of 14 days posed an issue for travel agencies. I cannot imagine how big the expenditure will be when the result expires and we have to take the test over and over again.”

Tjokorda stressed that Bali has to apply strict health and safety measures, and punishment has to be meted out on fraudulent business players who fail to obey the protocols, not ruling out permit revocation for offenders.

Fransiska Handoko, general manager of Risata Bali Resort and Spa and government relations director of Bali Hotels Association, has, however, pointed out that the government’s circular lacked technical guidance on health and safety measures to be taken by trade players.

To ensure that hotels and resorts across Bali have adhered to safe management measures, Bali Tourism Agency head I Putu Astawa said he has formed a verification team of about 100 members to undergo spot checks during the certification process. The members hail from various associations, including the Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies and the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurant Association.

The officers in the verification team will assess the readiness of the association members with regards to the new protocols.

“(Tourism players who manage to pass the health and safety accreditation) will sign a pact of integrity. After that, we will give them the certificate,” said Putu, adding that officers will check if measures are indeed taken onsite.

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