The good news first, or the bad news? Ok, the good news is that Bali is reopening quarantine free travel ahead of schedule. It’s official, it’s happening.
The bad news, at least to some, is that Bali’s reopening is not as free and easy as many other recent reopening plans, which dropped testing requirements for fully vaccinated visitors. Bali will instead require both pre-flight and post-flight testing.
With Bali officially now reopening on March 7th to visitors from 23 countries, including the US, UK, Australia and most of Europe, here’s what you can expect.
Bali Opens Quarantine Free Travel
If you’re fully vaccinated and willing to take a covid-19 test before travel, Bali is now officially open with visas on arrival for visitors from 23 countries. The truly stunning island moved its March 14th reopening up by a week — and airlines are beginning to reboot service.
The 23 countries eligible for visa on arrival into Bali include: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, The United States of America, United Arab Emirates, UK and Vietnam.
Unlike other destinations rapidly reopening travel, such as Oman and The Maldives, Bali will still require testing prior to travel. That in itself isn’t such a big deal, but the island will also require a post arrival test, which creates more jeopardy.
If someone were to test positive upon arrival, via the test conducted by Balinese and Indonesian health authorities, there’s risk of ending up in hospital, or a quarantine hotel. Anecdotes about the conditions in these places haven’t been wildly positive.
The silver lining is that officials pledge to re-test visitors who test positive after 3 days; and once a negative test result is achieved, they’d theoretically be released to enjoy their holiday. It’s not much of a silver lining, but it’s something compared to the 14+ days of mandatory isolation elsewhere, like Hong Kong.
The rules for entry don’t end there, sadly. All tourists from the 23 eligible countries will also need to obtain health coverage which includes covid-19 infections for the duration of their visit, prior to entry. For nationals of these 23 countries, visas on arrival will be issued.
A Missed Tourism Opportunity, Again?
Islands have a more difficult time dealing with health crises than mainland areas. Fewer ICU beds and limited access to hospitals requires added caution in reopening the floodgates of travel.
But with cumbersome entry requirements, Bali once again risks missing the wave of the tourism rebound, even with surfers. Bali’s last attempt at reopening travel was so underwhelming, airlines refuses to schedule any flights, due to lack of demand.
As the world reopens, Bali is in a tough spot to balance local health, but also the vital need for the economic benefits tourism brings. Unless rules are relaxed, many will go elsewhere. For now, they largely are.
Bali is open for quarantine free travel to fully vaccinated visitors from 23 countries, and that’s great news. Just maybe not as great as it could be.