Bali’s reopening excitement fizzles as restrictions remain

Despite progress in Bali’s reopening, which saw direct flights being announced by two airlines and the 10-day quarantine period being cut by half with a new travel bubble system last week, Indonesian inbound players are losing faith in the policy.

Their source of woe is the Bubble Quarantine Policy’s continued requirement of quarantine for arriving travellers.

Indonesian inbound players say Bali’s new Bubble Quarantine Policy is too restrictive to aid recovery

Sugeng Suprianto, managing director of Top Indonesia Holidays, told TTG Asia that travellers today are gravitating towards destinations that are easy to access, particularly those without mandatory quarantine.

“Europeans are not interested (in Bali). I’ve lost many clients who have turned to the Philippines, the Maldives and other countries that have dropped their quarantine requirement,” he added.

Ricky Setiawanto, Panorama Destination’s director of business development, hopes the government will have the confidence to remove the quarantine requirement, as many destinations have. He said the quarantine requirement inflates the cost of travel, making the destination less competitive than those without compulsory on-arrival isolation.

“Tourists have to spend at least US$700 on the Warm-Up Vacation package (a 5D/4N arrangement with select hotels that is part of the Bubble Quarantine Policy). This burdens tourists, which pushes them to choose other destinations,” said Ricky.

Under the new rules, tourist visas will also no longer be available on arrival. Instead, travellers will need to obtain an e-visa from sponsoring travel companies before they fly. This worries Adjie Wahjono, operations manager of Aneka Kartika Tours, as the procedure adds to the cost and complexity of planning a trip to Bali.

“We hope that visa-on-arrival can be reinstated, at least for residents of ASEAN member countries,” Adjie said.

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