KOMPAS.com - Indonesia hopes to welcome back vaccinated foreign tourists by the middle of this year, to be precise around June to July, the month when travel restrictions may be lifted.
"We continue to finalize the preparation for the Safe Travel Corridor Arrangement in Bali, Batam and Bintan. For Bali, there are three areas included, namely Nusa Dua, Sanur and Ubud,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno said in a weekly press briefing at the ministry's building in Jakarta Monday, March 29.
Sandiaga hoped that everyone in the sector of tourism and the creative economy in the green zones, areas with zero coronavirus cases, will be prioritized in receiving Covid-19 vaccination to create herd immunity.
"However, if the [workers] are unwell, we hope that business owners and tourism operators offer more flexibility for staff and should not lay off employees. This is a very tough time for the tourism and the creative economy industry,” said Sandi.
He urged all people, including those in the green zones, to continue to implement health protocols, so that they become more ready to welcome foreign tourists when they are allowed to enter Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the Safe Travel Corridor Arrangement will cover the green zones. In the context of Bali, for example, the green zones are part of what officials describe as a Covid-free corridor, where all residents and people who conduct businesses within Ubud, Sanur and Nusa Dua, will be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Bali Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati or popularly known as Cok Ace disclosed the plan for the Bali-China travel corridor during a webinar held on Thursday, March 25.
Under the plan, the tourists from China who have been vaccinated in their country will be allowed to come to Bali through this corridor.
"We target the Chinese tourists as we know that the country has managed to get out of the pandemic following a successful vaccination program,” Cok Ace said recently.
Besides Bali, there are also travel corridors in the Riau Islands, namely Nongsa Point and Lagoi which are scheduled to open in April.
"We are still in discussion. The proposal is on how the Safe Travel Corridor Arrangement could provide a sense of security. In dealing with the health crisis, safety and security must be prioritized,” said Sandiaga.
Bali gears up to welcome foreign tourists
Bali governor Wayan Koster has designated the island's popular destinations in Ubud, Sanur, and Nusa Dua as the green zones.
Wayan said the creation of the three zones is part of a wider “Covid-19 safe travel” strategy, which was initiated by the Health Minister and the Tourism and Creative Economy Minister.
Head of Bali Provincial Tourism Office, Putu, confirmed Sunday that foreign tourists will be allowed to visit the island by mid-year. But, they must be vaccinated first.
"I haven't heard from the [Bali] governor, but the President said that the tourism will be opened in June or July 2021 when the Covid-19 cases went down," Putu said.
Currently, there are around 100,000 tourism workers in Bali who have registered for the Covid-19 vaccination program, including those in the green zone.
Meanwhile, the vaccine distribution has been done since March 22. A total of 170,487 doses of vaccine have been distributed to the green zones. Ubud areas received 47,045 doses of vaccine, while Nusa Dua and Sanur received 87,715 and 35,727 doses, respectively.
Also, the government has issued the Cleanliness, Health, Safety, and Environmental Sustainability (CHSE) certification to 975 tourism operators, such as hotels, restaurants, transportation and tourism objects.
As of now, the government prohibits foreigners from entering Indonesia, with few exceptions. Only the holders of diplomatic visas, official visiting service visas, diplomatic residence permits, official residence permits, limited stay permit cards (KITAS), or permanent residence permit cards (KITAP) can enter the country.
(Writer: Nabilla Ramadhian | Editor: Anggara Wikan Prasetya)