Indonesia’s Bali and Riau Islands are reopening to visitors from 19 countries starting Thursday, according to the country’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan.
“We have given permission to 19 countries to be able to travel to Bali and the Riau Islands,” Luhut announced in a meeting in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The countries are: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Liechtenstein, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, and Norway.
The United States is not yet on the approved list.
Tourist visas must be obtained in advance.
The countries were chosen based on data showing low positivity rates, Luhut said.
Travelers from the countries can enter Bali and Riau Islands as long as they follow the requirements before and upon arrival, Luhut said.
Eligible travelers must be fully vaccinated with a second vaccine taken at least 14 days prior to traveling to Indonesia, have insurance coverage for Covid-19 treatment worth at least US $100,000 and pay for their own accommodation during a five-day quarantine period.
“One of the reasons for the optimism behind Bali’s readiness was due to Covid-19 vaccination having reached 99 percent for the first dose and 90 percent for the second dose,” the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry’s Crisis Management Special Staff, Henky Hotma P. Manurung, said, according to a report in the state-run news outlet Antara.
Luhut added that the reopening will be evaluated periodically and that “this list of 19 countries only applies specifically to direct flights to Bali and the Riau Islands.”
He hoped that the implementation will boost Bali’s tourism-dependent economy. An estimated 54% of the island’s income is earned from the tourism industry.
Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport (DPS) in Denpasar is ready to welcome international arrivals on Thursday, Taufan Yudhistira, Stakeholder Relations Manager at Ngurah Rai’s International Airport Authority, told CNN.
However, no international flights are slated to land there yet, Yudhistira said.
Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, Indonesia photo by AP/Firdia Lisnawati