NusaBali.com reports that the Indonesian Tourism Guide Association (HPI) and Bali Villa Association (BVA) remain optimistic that Bali’s tourism industry is rebounding. This sense of optimism is buoyed with the resumption of international flights to Bali by Singapore Airlines and Garuda Indonesia from Tokyo, Japan, and plans by Jetstar to start flying from Australia to Bali in March.
The chairman of the Bali branch of HPI, I Nyoman Nuarta, said on Monday, 21 February 2022, “We appreciate the government policies that are easing access by foreign tourists wishing to come to Bali.” The HPI chairman continued, saying the government must give attention to accelerating the flow of foreign tourists by supporting even more direct international flights to Bali while also addressing issues related to tourist visas and quarantine requirements.
Nuarta explained that the government must simplify currently cumbersome visa requirements. Adding, “Or just implement the visa-on-arrival (VOA) system that was available before the pandemic.”
Nuarta said he was confident that a simplified visa procedure or the return of the VOA would greatly support the return of foreign tourists to Bali.
The visa-on-arrival facility is a visitor-class visa given to tourists, those involved in social-cultural travel, short business trips, and working on government assignments.
Regarding quarantine requirements, Nuarta acknowledged that the quarantine period is now three days but urged the quarantine requirement to be scrapped, providing foreign tourists are certified healthy on arrival in Indonesia. Adding: “The problem of visas and quarantine must be resolved to encourage more foreign tourists to come to Bali.”
Nuarta said the return of the still relatively small trickle of foreign tourists to Indonesia has yet to have a positive or significant impact on the employment of the Island’s professional tourist guides who are members of the HPI.
Echoing Nuarta’s comments, the chairman of the Bali Villa Association, I Putu Gede Hendrawan (Jro Hendrawan), said: “It would be best if the quarantine requirement is abolished and the visa-on-arrival or free-visa program extended to countries who are managing COVID-19 well and are vaccinating their citizens.”
Jro Hendrawan pointed to countries neighboring Indonesia that have already opened their doors widely to foreign travelers to underline his point. He said that reinstituting the VOA and eliminating quarantine requirements will increase foreign tourist arrivals in Bali.
Jro Hendrawan also regretted reports that some parties have used the current quarantine and visa rules to commit corruption and damage the reputation of Bali tourism while the industry is working to restore tourism. Adding: “The members of BVA think that VOA must be reinstated as it was before the pandemic, and after that, the quarantine must be eliminated.”